BMW fixed!

We went camping with some cool new friends in the awesome Jemez mountains. It was gorgeous, I put up some pictures on Facebook. That was a week and a half ago now though. Time flies.

This last weekend the important project was registering the BMW. For posterity (and any other 1984 BMW 533i owners whose engine mysteriously won’t rev up): The Tale of the Broken BMW.

1. Car fails emissions test spectacularly by having many times the allowed hydrocarbons coming through at idle.
2. Ken messes with the idle control valve (ICV), the idle control unit (ICU), and the car brains (the engine control unit, or ECU).
3. Ken puts everything back the way it was and the car refuses to rev up.
4. Ken tests sensors, orders new ICU,ICV, and ECU. Replaces all, plus at least two new sensors. Tests all the connections to the ICU to make sure they work and are hooked up correctly. No dice.
5. Ken tears out hair. Despairs.
6. Checks wiring to the ICU. It is totally wrong. Fix wiring, plug in old ICV,ICU, ECU. Car works! Still smells of gas when idling.
7. Turns idle mixture screw lean until the car starts idling poorly, then turns it back slightly until it runs properly.
8. Replaces spark plugs – they were pretty grody from the super rich idle.
9. Smells exhaust. Has me smell exhaust. We agree, with our diminished brain cells from exhaust smelling, that it is considerably less gassy than it was previously.
10. Pass emissions test with flying colors.
11. Register car here. For the first time in ages the license plate matches the insurance matches the title. Amazing.

We don’t know how it was running at idle and revving fine before all this nonsense. However, it now idles better than it ever has, and since it’s not dumping all the gas out through the tailpipe at idle, maybe it’ll get better gas mileage. Even if it doesn’t, it’s a huge relief to finally get it registered.

Next up: get the welder going – should be getting the final fittings this week- and fix up the exhaust properly, then give it a proper paint job so it doesn’t look like a chalkboard.

Then – sell it? I think Ken may be reaching the conclusion that he has more fun things to do with his time than work on this particular old car, as scintillating as it may be.

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October 2011
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