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Vass

The Barbara Chronicles

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@Vass I'd tend to go back to LVVTA and see what recourse you may have to get some action, they may have some internal standards / targets they can give the certifier a reminder about ? Ultimately it does reflect on them directly so you'd hope they have some motivation to ensure the process is working well.

Alternately you could see if there are others in the same boat by posting on the forum ? https://lvvta.proboards.com/ ... I've posted a number of times and always gotten replies from an actual LVVTA person within a few days ūüĎć

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2 hours ago, Cement said:

@Vass I'd tend to go back to LVVTA and see what recourse you may have to get some action, they may have some internal standards / targets they can give the certifier a reminder about ? Ultimately it does reflect on them directly so you'd hope they have some motivation to ensure the process is working well.

Alternately you could see if there are others in the same boat by posting on the forum ? https://lvvta.proboards.com/ ... I've posted a number of times and always gotten replies from an actual LVVTA person within a few days ūüĎć

Yeah will give them feedback regardless whether it gets resolved this week or not, would expect much better with the amount of money you're shelling out. It's a tricky one as the next closest certifier is all the way in Timaru so really wouldn't want to go on a full on war path and end up in the guy's bad books if I ever need stuff certified again...

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Just checked again, and she's live! Will get a WoF booked in. Hallelujah!

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3 hours ago, Vass said:

Yeah will give them feedback regardless whether it gets resolved this week or not, would expect much better with the amount of money you're shelling out. It's a tricky one as the next closest certifier is all the way in Timaru so really wouldn't want to go on a full on war path and end up in the guy's bad books if I ever need stuff certified again...

Plenty of people go to Timaru to avoid the dealing with the Christchurch fellas. There is a new guy starting up in Rolleston I saw on the December newsletter but not sure how long until he is up and running fulltime. 

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On 2/12/2024 at 2:37 PM, Gaz said:

Plenty of people go to Timaru to avoid the dealing with the Christchurch fellas. There is a new guy starting up in Rolleston I saw on the December newsletter but not sure how long until he is up and running fulltime. 

Yeah I've heard of that. Apparently you have to pretend to be a Timaru local though?

Good news on the Rolleston fella, hope it takes off, the Chch fellas are long overdue a kick up the ass.

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236,600km

Gave the garage a good reshuffle and cleared out enough space to roll the car in for some wrenching. Was nearly due an oil change so used it as a chance to knock out a few bigger and smaller jobs. Last I changed oil was only in October but already managed to clock up 7k km's so figured it was time.

Had tried doing some data logging a while ago and noticed the long term fuel trims sitting at 8.5%. Not enough to cause any noticeable rough running or trigger engine codes but did seem a tad high. Followed @Harper's lead and got myself a little smoke tester. Was tossing up getting one of the higher end models with pressure gauges and other bells and whistles but in the end figured it's a tool that would only ever get occasional use so went with the cheapest one. Also got the inflatable bladder adapter to go with the kit that plugs into the intake boot. Nifty little setup, the tin can solution felt almost humorous but works well enough.

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The device produces a decent amount of smoke but didn't reveal any vacuum leaks so the issue must lie elsewhere. Will clear adaptations and continue keeping an eye on data logs.

At some point I was also getting codes claiming the ICV to be stuck open so tried switching that out as well. Picked up a spare one from Pick-A-Part, gave it a good clean with throttle body cleaner spray, compressed air and lubed up the internals with a bit of oil. The unit that came out still seemed to move freely enough but will see if the codes come back.

Drained the oil which didn't look too bad but there was quite a bit of metallic sludge stuck to the magnetic drain plug. Still only 9k km since the engine rebuild but already the 4th oil change so not entirely sure at what point it becomes something to be seriously concerned about. Will do another oil change in 4-5k km's time and reassess.

Video

The biggest mission I decided to tackle this time around was replacing the oil non-return valve that sits in the oil filter housing. First saw it done in one of M539's videos and with the vendor seemingly not shipping to New Zealand, I took the chance to pick up a couple of those valves whilst over in Europe last year. Finally gathered enough motivation to install it after stumbling upon a thread on E46 Fanatics of it supposedly fixing the guy's startup engine tick and low oil pressure issue.

Was mentally prepared for oil to start splashing out all over the place when removing the housing but the mess ended up being almost underwhelming.

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The valve is press fit into the housing and its extraction needed some tedious prying out with a screwdriver. I used an old plastic trim removal tool as a sacrificial layer to protect the surrounding edges. Worked pretty well and managed to get the old valve out with little to no damage.

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The old valve didn't look too bad, the groove was barely worn into the side but the plug did seem to move quite freely in there. Poured a bit of oil over top and it drained right through. Tested the new one with brake cleaner and none leaked past.
One weird thing with the new valve was that it just dropped into the opening without the need to hammer it in. Still snug enough in there that it didn't move around but loose enough that you could lift back out with just your fingers. Measured the diameter of the two with a digital vernier - the old valve was 25.07mm whilst the new one 25.01mm. Not a huge difference but still. Not like it has any space to fall out and I guess it'll properly mate itself to the surrounding housing after a few heat cycles.

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Jumping forward a bit, unfortunately it wasn't the culprit of my niggling startup rattle and the issue still persists. I'm beginning to think it not to be engine-related entirely but something to do with the gearbox/flywheel. Very hard to tell by the sound alone, near on impossible to capture it on video/audio and the list of potential suspects is ever decreasing. Regardless, still glad I replaced the valve.

To finish up under the hood, I did a compression test just to check the general health of the engine. First time doing it since the engine rebuild so was a bit nervous but the results were pretty satisfying with all cylinders sitting at 200-208 PSI. Couldn't be happier with that.

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Finally, after hitting my head a few too many times on the boot door that wouldn't raise itself all the way up anymore, I got around to replacing the crusty old boot struts that were starting to become audibly annoying as well.

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Otherwise, she's sitting fairly pretty.

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The next bigger undertaking will be to finally wire up the reversing camera (thanks to @adro for the motivation), along with the boot elephant trunk repair and fixing all the broken tabs on the boot trims.

Edited by Vass
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7 hours ago, Vass said:

Had tried doing some data logging a while ago and noticed the long term fuel trims sitting at 8.5%

Brake booster is another possibility. I heard mine but you could try to smoke test it if you remove the one way valve or make a test hose.

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9 hours ago, Vass said:

Still only 9k km since the engine rebuild but already the 4th oil change so not entirely sure at what point it becomes something to be seriously concerned about. Will do another oil change in 4-5k km's time and reassess.

It took about that many oil changes on my S54 before there was no material in the oil after the rebuild. Just as I was starting to get worried that there was still glimmering stuff in the oil, the next oil change was clear. 

Edited by Harper
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On 12/27/2022 at 10:13 PM, Vass said:

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Was going to put the heatshield back on to make it a bit less conspicuous but that was just too mangled up to be of any use.

 

Haven't looked into what the cert/WoF verdict might be on it but can easily throw on the original spare coupling if they deem it an issue.

 

Have you had any WOF issues doing this? I need to replace my stock one and this would be a more cost-effective way of doing it.

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28 minutes ago, Karter16 said:

Have you had any WOF issues doing this? I need to replace my stock one and this would be a more cost-effective way of doing it.

I haven't had issues personally but I think it might be subjective to a particular WoF inspector.

It got picked up when I went for cert recently so now it's fully certified for it, but I also passed a WoF before that without issues right after the engine swap a year ago. I've also read some reports of some people even failing cert with them in so... Not sure what to make of it.

I guess you could just paint it silver before installing to keep it stealth, or install with the original heat shield thingy over it, should be fine. 

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Have one in my M3 and compact, painted them black since I don't like the pink. Never had issues passing wof.

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+1 for black. Did the same thing to my monoball rtabs because i hate the pink too, looks factory.

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Managed to knock out the tedious task of repairing the boot harness over the past few weeks. Wasn't as straight-forward a process as I'd have liked but got there in the end. Also installed the reversing camera that had been sitting on the shelf for a good few years. Went with one that slots in instead of one of the number plate lights. Despite it being advertised specifically for an E46, turned out it didn't quite fit. Namely, it back cover was too large to fit into the housing and would hit the inside wall before reaching the seating surface. Had to take out the dremel and hack off quite a good chunk out of it until it clipped in, so much so that it left a few gaping holes in the thing that I sealed up with hot glue. Turned out quite ghetto, but as long as it works, it ain't stupid.

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The grommet for the boot wiring had been badly torn ever since I got the car so was long overdue being addressed. The plastic trims around the tailgate were also all busted up and were held in place with some disgusting goo that took quite a bit of effort to clean up.

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I already knew the black wire to be broken but also discovered the brown ground wire to be on its way out after cutting up the boot/grommet.

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The black wire was going up to the module under the hatch spoiler/brake light panel which turned out to be radio antenna amplifier. A few wires going in and out from either side so not exactly sure what that particular wire was supposedly powering. Never noticed issues with getting radio signal but good to have it repaired regardless.

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There was a lot of splicing involved. In total, there was 24 wires - 21 going to the main hatch and 3 to the glass window, all routed through the 3-legged "elephant trunk" harness. I went with this kit from Schmiedmann that included replacement wires, crimp connections and of course new boots/grommets. Weirdly, half of the crimp connectors were good quality ones with incorporated glued heatshrink sleeves and half were the shitty rigid plastic casing ones with no heatshrink. I wasn't a big fan of the latter so went out and bought some more to match the former, in sizes that I could find anyway.

The kit looked like the perfect solution for the issue but unfortunately packed a major flaw, one that I only discovered having already hooked up the 3 wires going to the glass window. For some stupid reason the replacement grommet that goes to the body of the car was way too big to fit into the opening. The difference wasn't minor either but was a good 15-20mm longer than the original grommet. I tried ever which way to cram it in there but it just would not budge, the thing was just way too oversized.

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The process of reporting the issue to Schmiedmann turned out to be comically difficult. Must have gone back and forth with their representative a good 10+ times. Sent them the photos and the description of the issue, to which they said I must not have done it right, that the grommet is very flexible and should fit without issue, then demanded precise measurements of the grommets and the opening, photos of both grommets next to the opening, then claimed my car must not be standard as they've sold heaps of these and I'm the first one to complain so it's my fault somehow... All a bit silly as the photos really speak for themselves. The original grommet was already a tight fit into the opening and with the replacement one being proportionally longer by a good quarter there was just no way it would fit, without issue no less. The openings for the wires were the same size but the Schmiedmann grommet had about a cm of extra material either side of it compared to the original. Why they didn't just make it to match the genuine grommet I have no idea.

In the end managed to claw out a partial 50% refund. Was going to use it on a new genuine grommet (part #61136900190) but unfortunately the lead times on those are 3-4 weeks and keeping the car out of action for that long wasn't an appealing option so I tried to make this one work by chopping it up. I cut away at the extra material either side of the opening and cut a new sealing groove with a razor, giving my fingers a good few cuts and bleeding all over the place in the process. Unfortunately, didn't take any photos of the end result as I didn't fancy taking it back out again after the first successful test-fitting, it didn't look pretty though. Luckily looks to have sealed up fine in the end. I'm a bit concerned about the angle the rubber folds at which makes me doubtful of its longevity, so I'm still putting an order in for a genuine grommet to have on hand as a backup.

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The most time consuming part was of course reconnecting the wires. Took my time numbering and labelling every wire to make sure nothing got crossed up. 48 crimps in total as well as soldering in the reversing camera connections and the new number plate light. Got quite repetitive in the end.

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In the end tidied up quite nicely.

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All the lights, boot latches and of course the reverse camera all fully functional without any hiccups, which was a great relief. I'm mindful of this solution introducing new potential failure points but the connection points should be far enough away from any moving parts that or pinch points that I'm fairly confident it won't be an issue. The shifty grommet is the main point of concern for me so will be something I keep my eye on.

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As a finishing touch, I finally got all the boot trims repaired and reinstalled. The plastic tabs holding the trim bits in place are notorious for breaking upon removal, no matter how careful you approach the task. Mine were of course already busted and creatively held in place with double-sided tape and sticky goo courtesy of the previous owner/s.

Fortuitously, a while ago I'd come across a clever solution by one ///Mark_D on the E46 Fanatics forum who came up with a set of replacement steel tabs that can be glued in place of the broken plastic ones. Naturally, I snapped up a bunch and finally put them to good use.

Between the bits that came on the car, a set that @Hazzy dropped off on his way through town and a few various bits I'd collected off a few parts cars, I put together a tidy looking set and got onto fitting replacement tabs. I first marked out the exact footprint of the new tabs, cut off and filed down the remnants of the old ones, used a dremel to roughen up the mating surface for better adhesion and then glued the tabs in place using some high strength clear epoxy. Every trim bit needed at least one new tab with the total number coming out to 17.

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With most of the boot taken apart, I took up the chance to give everything a good clean treat the plastics with some Aerospace 303. Also swapped out a few remaining cracked and busted bits that I finally managed to find good replacements for. All the interior trims are now looking as good as they ever will, pretty happy with the state of it on a 20+ year old car.

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All the goo cleaned off and trim bits installed. Awesome seeing everything nicely buttoned up for the first time in 3+ years.

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Reverse camera fully functional. No adjustment possible but good enough angle to avoid backing into stuff. The headunit Android system still takes about 20 seconds to boot up but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the reverse camera functions straight away after startup without any wait time. Good stuff.

The towball is also in full view when installed. One of the main missions I've been putting off is getting that all wired in. Will need to get my hands on a towing module (part #61356955253) that the E46 shares the the E53 X5 & E83 X3. If anyone has any leads on one, please do shout out.

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One funny thing I discovered when making my latest parts order is that the "aero" windshield wipers are RHD & LHD-specific. LHD Bosch ones are pretty cheap from Schmiedmann but of course nobody carries RHD ones. No surprise that my car came with LHD ones with the fin facing the wrong way... Not that it makes a massive, if any, noticeable difference but just another thing that triggered my OCD. They were due a replacement anyway so ordered a set of correct ones from Wipertech - seems to be all the rage lately. Love that new wiper feel.

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Ah yes Schmiedmann customer 'service', they are great until you have an issue.

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