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1991 BMW 525i

Filtering by Category: Garage Updates

Rusty Pipes

Classic Velocity

Before... 

Before... 

The  Fiver developed a small hole in the muffler over a year ago. Rust, salt, moisture, and heat combined to turn that into a larger hole over the past year. The result is an increasingly louder vehicle which went from not noticeable to burbling like a hot rod muscle car.  A new muffler came from Bavarian Autosport, and it was installed by a local Midas shop. Noticeably quieter, and feels a bit smoother. 

After... 

After... 

Routine Care

Classic Velocity

The Fiver is definitely one of those vehicles that is in a no-mans-land between vintage and modern. Now that it is a daily driver, I treat it like a modern car. That would normally mean that I don't tackle even routine maintenance like an oil change. Time wise, and financially, you cannot beat a $25 oil change on a car that needs 5 quarts of oil. However, as a vintage vehicle, I immediately bought some filters when I got the car. The change of both oil and air filter was very simple, and was needed on both fronts. Some small critter had found the airbox to be a nice home and had stocked up on small seeds. I may do something to help the car breathe a litlle better going forward, but for now a stock filter is back in place.

 

New Contact Patches

Classic Velocity

Some things in life just belong together. Peanut Butter and Jelly, fish and water, BMWs and BBS wheels. It's just the natural order of things. When I saw some scuffed up BBS rims for sale cheap, I had to rescue them, and I had to put them on the fiver. After all, they came from a fiver and were the correct 15 inch variety. So this is the first noticeable departure from bone stock, but it could have come this way as an option, so i can claim continued authenticity. And besides, it just looks right....

 

Oh and by the way, the rubber was gone, so I finally used a tire rack gift certificate and got some new shoes. So now there is a set of stock rims with decent rubber ready to be pressed into service...

The Sunliner Crisis

Classic Velocity

When there is almost nothing wrong with a car, you have to make the most out of minor issues. In this case I thought of the National Enquirer style title for this post to describe the smallest os issues on the 525i. The headliner material around the edge of the sunroof was wrinkled !! (cue the dramatic cliffhanger music). It was wrinkled because some of the adhesive around the front edge had dried up over time, and allowed some material to pull loose. Holy glue gun Batman, what are we going to do !!

It turns out the quite a bit more was about to come loose. It was all easily solved with some 3M spray adhesive, a little clamping, and some patience. 20 minutes tops. Boy, that was a disaster waiting to happen. Is there no end to the work needed on this jalopy? ;-)

The Impulse Purchase

Classic Velocity

Car guys and gals are often the recipient of leads. You know, the "You have to check this thing out" kind of leads that come from friends, co-workers, family, and casual acquaintances. I got one of those leads while looking for a car for a co-worker. The full convoluted process to how it became my car is documented in the main blog (see how to catch a mermaid). Suffice it to say that I was very pleased to be the new owner of a car that I did not go looking for.

The 1991 BMW 525i is a like-new example of the critically acclaimed E34. Journalists and buyers at the time heaped praise upon the styling, interior, and performance. Lawrence Meredith, writer of many definitive motor books admits to his own bias in describing the car since he is an owner himself. High praise indeed. The E34 is also the last chassis designation that I really liked in the styling department. It still had 4 uncovered headlights up front, a slightly wedged shape, and limited electronics. The most advanced acronym in my car is ATSC (automatic tape slack control) which relates to the operation of the cassette tape deck.

Besides the cassette tape deck, it has a trunk-mounted 6 disk CD changer. Remember those ? More importantly, it has sunroof, leather, heated seats, and....wait for it....a limited slip differential. Now that is a useful option. The car is ridiculously smooth, so much so that I had a hard time remembering that it was a five speed on the drive home. Every car I have with a stick shift is old enough to have an engine noise and vibration to match. This car is smoother than any automatic, and is barely working at highway speeds.

This car will also be a test. It needs nothing. I mean nothing. As we enter winter here, it is too nice to slosh around on salted roads, and not really old enough to be vintage. It is also a great platform for all manner of go-fast goodies. It is going to get some daily driver usage, and may become the full-time daily driver going forward, but it will take discipline to keep my grubby hands off it....