Well, That Was Fun

The BMW has been running rough, and the OBD says that it’s misfiring on #6. I changed out the plugs, and swapped the #6 coil with #5, to see if that moved the problem. It didn’t.

Next step (since it’s two decades old, with 180,000+ miles on it) was to check out and clean the injectors. So I spent a couple hours figuring out how to get them out, cleaned them, put on new O-rings, and reinstalled. Now #2 and #4 are leaking at the rail. Now I’m wondering if it was a mistake to change the O-rings, but I’m just scratching my head at how, as hard as they were to get in to both the port on the head, and the rail, they could be leaking.

25 thoughts on “Well, That Was Fun”

  1. Pinched the o-rings, when re-installing, make sure they are sitting fully in the grooves and then put a light coat of any sort of lube on the piece you’re inserting. A little oil or grease smeared on with the tip of your finger is all it takes. Twist it slightly against the o-ring as it’s inserted, It should slide fairly easily after the initial resistance. If not check for a pinched o-ring.

    Always a good idea to check the compression on the cylinder, a burned valve isn’t out of the question. Have you checked the wiring to the coil? The coil fires by being grounded, so a meter on the low side should fluctuate between 13V and near 0 when you crank it. Broken/corroded wires and loose connections are always possibilities. Especially after 20 years, the spark plug lead could be bad.

    Good luck.

    1. The “check the compression” is a must IMHO.

      Also, how’s the oil look? If it’s getting black fast, and using a lot, the rings would be one of my suspects.

      Good luck!

  2. Had a Lexus only about 6 years old said cylinder #6 was misfiring. #6 coil was under the windshield wipers. I couldn’t get to it with the amount of time & effort it was worth. So I replaced coils 1, 2, and 3. Problem went away.

  3. Can someone tell me the appeal of a BMW?

    I think I understand the appeal of a Honda. I drove a friend’s Accord about 40 feet — I was “car sitting” for him and the idea was not to keep it in the same parking spot that it would end up ticketed and towed.

    I have a Camry and used to drive a Corolla (OK, a Chevy Nova). There is something about the Honda, that was just “mmm” about its steering wheel feel and handling that felt just perfect, even to drive it 40 feet. It had a largish steering wheel — I kind of like the small steering wheel that goes on a Ford.

    I took a short test drive of a Ford Contour last century. I ended up getting the Taurus to have a stouter, more crashworthy car, but there was that “mmm” feel to the Contour. The sales guy said the “handling was designed by Jackie Stewart”, and I don’t know if he was funning me, but there is something about the Taurus that feels “meh” compared the “mmm” of the Contour.

    So someone fill me in on BMW-dom. Aside from Scotty Kilmer telling me they are a maintenance nightmare.

    1. “Can someone tell me the appeal of a BMW?”

      Can someone tell me the appeal of spending major bucks of a vehicle that might average an hour a day in use? That doesn’t get you there any faster or safer or carry more? That depreciates? As someone that works for my money, I find these questions quite interesting.

      1. I drive a 25 year old Taurus with 225,000 miles as my “winter beater” and a 23 year old Camry with 186,000 as my rust-free Florida car.

        I turn the key and they just start up and run. The Camry annoys me because the seat cushions appear designed for a much shorter person. Didn’t have that problem with my Corolla/Nova for some reason — neither with a much later model Corolla I once rented. The braking on the Camry seemed scary weak — that is, until I changed to front pads and rotors with premium after-market parts.

        The Taurus handling seems well balanced — it is the first front-drive car that doesn’t plow-straight-ahead-understeer in the snow. But it doesn’t have the intangible good feel of the Honda or the Contour. The Camry — let’s just stay it starts up, gets great gas mileage, and the brakes are no longer scary weak. I think it handles somewhat better when I replaced the MyPillow OEM rear struts with cheap aftermarket struts (the car repair place was cutting corners — not my idea) that have jacked the back up 2 inches.

        I was trying to be diplomatic not scolding Rand about owning a BMW, even an old high mileage one he manages to keep going. I am open to why people drive the cars they do.

    2. Depends on the BMW?

      Many are just “I can afford a Luxury Car!” signaling.

      But some of them, especially older ones, really do drive and handle very nicely.

      (Some people, also, just enjoy driving to a significant degree, and do not, as Mr. Hare seems to, view a vehicle solely as a cost-minimizing transportation appliance.

      There is nothing wrong with that view, but it is not universal.

      There’s a reason – beyond signaling status – why not everyone drives the cheapest car in the needful segment, to minimize cost of transport more than every other factor.

      I could easily have spent less on a vehicle than my XC70, but it’s FUN to drive and zooms nicely, unlike cheaper things with the same capacity, and it’s a little mountain goat when it snows.

      If “but it’s depreciating!” is a problem, get a used one, or … live with a pre-depreciated used Nissan, I guess? I’d rather pay more to not suffer.)

      1. We bought it used almost 18 years ago. It’s not to signal; it’s a comfortable car that’s fun to drive. It’s long in the tooth (and needs a new gearbox; reverse is problematic), but if I can get a few more fun miles out of it by improving the performance, it’s worth keeping.

        I’m impressed at the longevity of modern engines. It’s not burning any oil. I’m pretty sure that the missing cylinder is a fuel-injection issue. When I was a kid, we had to rebuild engines every hundred thousand miles or so, but I got 260K out of my 1986 Honda Accord, and this BMW is still going strong at 180K.

      2. I do 30,000 or more miles a year in trucks and have been doing it for decades. For driving, the thrill is long gone. Suffer is more a state of mind in modern vehicles absent serious issues. And up until last year I always bought used with 4wd trucks in the $3k-$5k range. Get them after people get nervous at 100,000-200,000 miles and put another 100,000 or so on them before scrapping.

        Last year my normal target vehicles doubled to tripled in auction price, so it for once made sense to buy new. Walking across the lot with the salesman, I told him I didn’t need cruise, tilt, power windows and all the other gingerbread on the fancy trucks. He pointed to one all jacked up with fancy tires and asked what I thought. I said he wasn’t a good enough salesman to sell me that piece of crap. It was only later that I learned it was his personal ride. I got a comfortable work truck for about half what some contractors are spending for fancy. That is a bunch of hours a month I don’t have to work to support transportation.

    3. re: appeal

      I have had a couple of cars that might help answer. I had a 1981 BMW 320i, and a 1988 Honda Accord LXi Hatchback. Neither of these cars is a fast car. But both cars are “driver’s cars”. There’s a combination of good handling, good ergonomics, and just general “goodness” that gives them their appeal. All the controls are in natural locations, and the operation of the cars is comfortable and somehow more fun. Both my cars had manual transmissions, which I’m sure helps with the fun, but the clutch feel, the shifting, and so forth were very natural and precise. These cars do what you ask them to do, without fighting you.

      It also doesn’t hurt that BMWs and Hondas (at least in those days) were attractive cars, with more distinctive styling.

      I’ve driven a lot of other cars, including a lot of Fords. My dad had a 1994 Taurus; a great car, but nothing like the “feel” of an Accord. The greatness wasn’t in the driving experience. I’ve loved big Chevy sedans and wagons, the old “floaty” ones, but it’s different; more for those big freeway cruises than for just driving. I had a really nice Fiesta ST that was a delight to drive, but maybe a bit more of a wrestle than the Bimmer or the Accord.

      I dunno. I find BMWs appealing in the same way I find a good Honda appealing, or even a good Subaru (I really like Subaru’s AWD system.)

  4. Anybody own the 2021 RAV4 Toyota Prime? Can’t get it in my area (Ohio) yet but will consider it seriously once it becomes available. The Tax credit of up to $7500 from the Federal government expires once they sell 200K of them; don’t know how many they have so far sold.

    1. Check out Scotty Kilmer has to say.

      Is this a car you want to keep a very long time? Do you see yourself working on it when out of warranty?

      Scotty and others point out that the high-voltage DC electric system of an EV or a hybrid is something that you can’t work on without special training that you don’t get hurt or worse.

      The new Dynamic Force 4-cyl engine is not a turbo, which is good for longevity, but it is direct-cylinder fuel injection, not so good in terms of accumulating deposits on the intake valves that regular fuel injection washes away.

      Kilmer states that the new 8-speed automatic transmissions are not quite as tough-as-an-anvil-reliable as the older ones, but the hybrid doesn’t have that type of transmission. There is a Toyota mechanic with a You Tube “channel”, can’t remember his name of “handle”, but he advised strict 3000-mile oil changes with the correct 0W20 oil (see the owners manual or under-hood stickers to use the exact kind) to avoid engine problems that are cropping up.

        1. He was replying to Tim, asking about a new Toyota hybrid, though!

          And re. above, looks like the Dynamic Force engines use BOTH port and direct injection, which should clean the valves some and reduce carbon accumulation; this is why mixed fuel injection seems to be very popular these days, after the first experiments with Pure Direct Injection caused so many problems.

          (I’d also take “but a YouTube mechanic said!” with a grain of salt. You can find someone on YT to praise or pooh-pooh any vehicle for almost any reason.

          No modern car that isn’t an Italian Supercar should need a 3000 mile interval with synthetic oil. Toyota says 5000, and they have good reason to not pad it, because they have to handle the warranty for 5 years/60kmi. 5000 seems like they’re serious, because plenty of other vehicles safely do 10kmi with full-synthetic oil [and can show you oil test results to prove it].

          Likewise, it’s 2021. Turbochargers are not Weird Sketchy Doom That Will Inevitably Fail Early. It’s not 1980, and it’s honestly pretty well figured out how to make one work and last, so even if Toyota used them, it wouldn’t be a problem.)

      1. “Check out Scotty Kilmer has to say.”

        He said something about that the PHEV Prime will likely torpedo the Tesla; nothing too specific about the Prime itself

        “Is this a car you want to keep a very long time? Do you see yourself working on it when out of warranty?”

        No. Don’t do too much of my own maintenance now; take it to the dealer following the maintenance minder function on the car. I am currently driving a 2008 Honda Accord 4-cylinder 5 speed manual transmission with 170K + miles bought new. I drive 26 miles to work one way 52 miles total; wouldn’t be able to drive the Prime on electric mode only too far. Even so I would expect considerable cost savings in fuel, not counting possibly greater maintenance cost on the Prime. Guess I am counting on Toyota’s vaunted reliability reputation. One key point is that the Prime isn’t available in Ohio much if at all. Wondering when it does become available would the scarcity of said model impact a dealers service technicians ability to work on it if they needed to? If said technician in Ohio has never worked on one how long would it have to sit in the shop before they figure out what to do, get the part(s) ordered etc.?

        1. It is not the “figuring out what to do” part. It if the “figuring out the correct use of PPE and procedures so I don’t die from touching the 500V DC traction electric part of the car.”

          1. “It is not the “figuring out what to do” part. It if the “figuring out the correct use of PPE and procedures so I don’t die from touching the 500V DC traction electric part of the car.”

            Which would logically be a subset of figuring out what to do; or if you like figuring out what to do safely. My point was that if the technician at the dealership in Ohio has seldom/never worked on a Prime because there are few around in my area that might negatively impact the quality of service the owner gets, which might effect the desirability of my owning one in the first place.

  5. “I think I understand the appeal of a Honda.”

    We had a 2000 Accord for 19.5 years until my wife totaled it at 3mph. The SUV doing 35mph helped.
    Great car. Most comfortable seat ever, felt glued to the road. I miss it although we now have a Mazda CX-5. After a year I’m getting used to it (the seat isn’t as good as the Accord’s) and the driver automation. Now I know what airline pilots complain about when converting to Airbus types.

  6. OK, so I can tell you my Honda joke that I have shared with many satisfied Honda owners. Mind you, I have only driven a Honda 40 feet in my life, but I from the experience, I understand Honda loyalty.

    There was a minor discussion on Slashdot about how the suspension angles on one of the Honda models (a Civic) was scrubbing the rear tires. The recommendation is that you have to rotate tires at regular intervals to balance the tire wear.

    Someone asked on that thread “couldn’t you just zero out those alignment angles?” The response was, “Don’t do it, you will ruin the handling”, that glued-to-the-road feel you mention.

    OK, what do you get if you take a Honda and zero out the suspension angles against this advice, getting really, really good tire mileage but in the bargain wrecking the handling?

    A Camry. (ba-doom boom!)

  7. 180K+ over 2 decades? I’d count that as gently driven. I do that to my Accord over 4 yrs. 172 mi round trip to work every day. I first did it with a Bonneville, and if Pontiac was still a thing, I’d have bought another, and another…. It’s sad that the Accord is the new Bonneville… but gotta get to work and get paid…. 25 lighters on my dressir, yessir…oh not so much…

  8. One of my earliest cars (bought used) was a Celica GT. I loved that car. It was comfortable for cruising on the highway, plus driving in town. I had it all through college, and kept it after. Stuff started to go wrong after it hit 150k miles, and by the time it hit 200k, I was looking at some serious time and money to do a restoration. Then, a traffic accident happened. (I wasn’t in it; neither vehicle had anyone in it at the time of collision, and my Celica wasn’t the one moving – An SUV rolled down a street and slammed into my parked car). So, I decided to let the car go rather than fix it, due to the costs. I’ve always regretted that decision.

    Fixing up a car may well cost more than it’s worth, but what I learned the hard way was all things are relative; if it’s a car you like, what you should look at is how much will it cost you to replace it with one you like as much.

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