BMW 840 CI 4.4 V8

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Latest Blog, Sales October 15th 2014

BMW 840 4.4 V8

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Latest Blog October 2nd 2014

BMW 850 CSI – Oxford Green

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Latest Blog, Sales March 21st 2012

BMW 840 CI 4.4 V8

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Latest Blog, Sales December 3rd 2011

BMW 850 V12 – Emission Test Fail / Valve Timing or Ignition Timing?

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The clam of an early morning in the workshop, where the quiet of the day is only punctuated by crisp rustling of a newspaper and the polite munching of toast, suddenly changes with a call form an agitated potential client – can we help, his BMW 850 has failed its MOT (the UK car mechanical worthiness licence) and he is concerned because the British Police are cracking down on expired MOT’s.

Time to stop drinking my tea and instead look sharp – this 850 V12 needs our help (maybe I should have been wearing my ‘Y’ fronts over my overalls at this time).

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Latest Blog July 20th 2010

‘Limp Home Mode’ BMW V12

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In some jobs you get to see sheer terror – this is one of them.

When a potential customer rings and comes in with their car running very badly, with strange messages appearing on their car computer, you know that they will be twitchy, concerned and in need of a blast of anti-perspirant.

On this occasion, the onboard computer on a BMW 850 states “Trans Axle Fail” (causing all sorts of concerns for the owner about possible broken axels and gear boxes, etc).

There was no doubt that something was badly wrong – a labouring, heavy engine sound and general complete lack of power. The key thing that seemed to relate to the ‘Transmission’ was the fact that the car was stuck in top gear.

Experience has taught me to be a bit sceptical of onboard computer display messages. This is especially the case with BMW who seem to take delight in either wanting to be over dramatic (or very poor translators into English) or wanting to implement safety precaution over rides. Someone there in Munich has been watching too many re-runs of ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ and fallen in love with Hal.

With this in mind, I was not about to believe that disaster had struck and instead decided that, as ever, it was best to work in a methodical way – tea, milk and two sugars. Perhaps toast in reserve if this one becomes a real challenge.

Working on the theory that it was me against Hal the cunning and misleading computer, I decide it was time to try work out what is really going on.

A labouring engine, with no real power, running on just one bank of cylinders (which was the case with this car) is effectively the minimum amount of performance that the engine management system will allow, thinking that something major is going on – almost as if Hal does not trust the driver with more power. This is otherwise known as ‘Limp Home Mode’.

Limp Home can be triggered by many things so time to start at sharp end of the car by establishing which cylinder bank is not working. The first move was to disconnect the MAS air flow meters (one will basically stop the engine from running – the good bank will stay running) then reconnect and note which is the troubled bank.

Next, switch off the engine and swap over the meters. Reconnect the air flow meters and start her up….. has the problem moved to the other bank?

In this case it had, so the diagnosis is nice and easy on this occasion.

We replaced the MAS air flow with a tested second hand unit (ensuring that we used the correct part number as there are I think three different types, all Bosch units) and started her up again. All was well – power up on all twelve cylinders and the heavy sounding agricultural tone now gone.

The’ tele gods’ must be with me as I struck lucky on the first thing I tried – replacing the MAS Air flow meter and the job is done!

Time to go home and watch a Dallas re-run. Well it is a Sunday after all and the Toast is safely still in its packet waiting for Mondays adventures and challenges.

Chris

P.S.

It may be worth looking at the following points if your German lady is feeling the limp mode.

Rather than assuming that your gear box seizing, it might be:

  1. Mas air flow meters
  2. Distributor caps and rotas – ensure that the carbon rod through the centre is protruding out by about 4 mm’ish, as this must make contact with the rota centre
  3. Spark plugs can bring on limp mode – this is unusual, but not impossible as the tolerance range is quite large for plugs. Engine misfire yes!
  4. Intake gaskets
  5. Damaged vacuum connections
  6. Intake air sensors – sometimes!
  7. Fuel pressure
  8. Fuel pressure regulators
  9. Wiring at the back of the alternator this cable and the heavy battery lead
  10. Throttle bodies, also known as EML
  11. DME relays in Dme box
  12. Coils
  13. Speed sensors
  14. Crank sensor – These can make her run very badly indeed – if at all!
  15. Lambda sensors
  16. Engine temperature sensor and the back of the heads – again this may not force LHM on all engines but will cause high fuel consumption and general feebleness of running sweetly
  17. Gear box sensors on manual and auto
  18. Fuel pump relays
  19. Fuel pumps
  20. EML light on and staying on – could be instrument/cluster wiring from the solder point on the circuit board to the bulb carrier

Can’t think of any more causes at the moment – Need more tea and a bourbon!!

Latest Blog July 12th 2010

All Work & No Blogging

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Apologies to everyone who has so kindly read and commented on my previous blogs.

I know it looks like I must have been having excessive tea and toast beaks and chosen not to hammer away that the PC but in truth we have been snowed under with work and I am only just able to see space in the work shop and relax a bit.

For any one who is interested, I set out below a list of the jobs that we have down since my last blog.

If anyone wants more details about any of these projects, just say and I will write something up.

In the meantime, I am about to submit a new blog about the recent “Limp Home Mode BMW V12”.

I look forward to your comments.

Best wishes, Chris

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Latest Blog July 6th 2010

Repairs to BMW 850 Differential Oil Seal & Centre Bearing

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This afternoon was taken up repairing a differential oil leak on a BMW 850 CSi – as it was a lovely day we know it was going to be hot one in the workshop!

However, not to worry when you know that someone else is going to have to sweat as well given that this job is definitely something that needs additional help to remove the full exhaust system – always a bit of concern here as these original systems have been in place for a few years and need to be taken down with real care avoiding any cracking or bending.

Needless to say, this German lady of the road will almost definitely need new support brackets.

Once the exhaust was removed it was easy to see the propshaft and centre bearing heat shields etc.  Now out with the marker pen (as when removing any thing from the prop, mark-ups are needed to record the alignment as this piece of kit has to go back exactly as she came off).

Prop removed but then time to split the shaft by removing the 17mm nut in the middle of the shaft – as ever super tight (and a good job i had those extra Weekabix for breakfast)! Time to pull off the centre bearing again watching how this one comes off (time of the marker pen again) ensuring the spacer ring goes back in.  Pressed on the new bearing (ensured she is the correct way round)  – re joined the ends of the shaft – again ensured all your markings align up.

Propshaft ready to back in to car. Before any further work of course, its time for tea and biscuits!!

Ok –  refreshed!

We then had to clean the diff off which had very bad diff oil and heavy grease all over the place. A simple tip that we learnt years ago (and which can save hours of anguish) is to ensuring the open end of the diff is covered from any flying rubbish the during clean off!

Time now for some super efficiency and as if by magic the draw opens and low and behold, a spare gasket appears for the shaft – these ‘little chaps’ have habit of tearing and hence we have to keep a stock of these ordered up from BMW.

After the Ali Bongo show it was time for a bit of physical labour again – the hub had to be removed from the diff. As it was on a splined shaft, the old marker pen was out again as was something to tap this hub off as she was tight – all whilst taking care not to damage anything.  With the hub off, out with the tight seal whilst avoiding any internal damage to the diff case with the extraction tools – sometimes it makes we wonder if the job description should be ‘surgical skills needed for man with Popeye forearms’.

Finished everything off by refitting new seal, pressing in with a soft hammer and a little grease smeared on  the outside of the seal case.

Then simple reassemble the whole lot back on to the car.

Another BMW 850 CSi back on the road and time for another challenge.

Latest Blog September 15th 2009

Trimming Time

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In the workshop this afternoon we had the pleasure of triming the drivers side bolster and thigh support on a lovely BMW  8 Series, 850ci – Black with Silver trim……very nice.

The Driver’s seat was particularly bad with a hole the size of an orange in the thigh bolster whilst the side support was also very torn – a Mouse the size of a small pony must have bee nibbling on this seat.

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Latest Blog September 1st 2009

Sun has got his hat on!!

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Sun has got his hat on!! – must be time to repair the sunroof.

Another challenge for the workshop, a lovely Oxford Green, 8 Series, BMW 840 where the Sunroof was simply not working – no movement or tilt back or forward. Click here to read more.. »

Latest Blog August 28th 2009