Saturday, May 2, 2009

Team Unknown Fluids!

In one of the zanier spur-of-the-moment moves I've ever pulled, I found myself as the primary caretaker of a 1982 BMW 633csi. Not just any '82 633, mind you, but one coming out the other end of a "Donate Your Junk Car" lot.

This 3-speed automatic equipped, non-starting gem of mid-malaise German engineering will be the trusty steed of Team Unknown Fluids at the 2008 24 Hours of LeMons at Buttonwillow, CA. I assure you, this wouldn't have been my first choice, but team Captain Jeff (aka FatBraff) bought it on an even more spur-of-the-creating-marital-strife-moment move.

I won't be going into any of the details of the build here, as that's what the Team Blog is for. I will occasionally use this space take some time to reflect on what it all means (man).

For starters...
"No start" specials can be a great opportunity if you've got a trailer and some ingenuity. Our car had a bad starter switch and a dead battery. It took 1 day to get it running.

BMW loves complexity. For example, rather than use a set screw on the throttle body to set the idle speed (like almost every other fuel injected car on earth), our car uses an idle control valve, which is a solenoid-controlled valve that serves as a bypass for the closed throttle plate. They use a whole non-adjustable electromechanical doohickey where a set screw would do.

Additionally, in place of a mass air flow (MAF) sensor to measure how much air is coming into the engine, BMW saw fit to equip our car with a big aluminum box with a big aluminum flap in it. Said flap is pulled open with airflow and actuates a sensor. Said flap is also a failure-prone restriction in the air intake path.

Given that the car is rife with things like this, it's no surprise that a car that cost over $35k in 1982 was down under $500 26 years later.

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of BMWs (if I've gotta go German, I'll take Audi, please). When I see the few BMWs I am a fan of (M Coupe, e39 M5, assorted M3s), I can't help but think back to the pile of wires I've pulled out of this older (theoretically) simpler Bimmer, and wonder at what maintenance horrors await me with these newer models.

1 comment:

tom said...

Just remember that a BMW goes though the assembly line up-side-down, and then everything makes sense. ;)