I’m not a great mechanic, I’m not even a good mechanic but as they say practice makes perfect. Every time I decide to spanner the BMW it seems to reward me with a new and exciting noise or punish me for having the temerity to wake him from his slumber and put him into active duty on the West Coast.
Last week I decided to tackle the non functioning handbrake. Unlike most cars BMW decided that it would be a cracking wheeze to hide a set of drum brakes under the rear brake discs and call it a parking brake. Over the 205,000 miles the materials on these brake shoes had become worn to a smooth patina thus rendering these bonus stoppers as much use as a ballet shoe on an ice rink. I dutifully adjusted the cables, the adjustment wheel all to no avail so off came the rear brakes to reveal the hidden drum shoes. In some ways it is quite ingenious to use the inside of the rear brake disc as a drum brake. However, in all other moderately sensible ways it is a ridiculous idea that generated quite a few swears over the last seven days.
And then there was the rust. Oh the rust. The caliper retaining bolts had fused themselves to the carriers and no matter how much penetrating blaster (ooer missus) I squirted they wouldn’t budge. After employing a breaker bar I heard a satisfying creaking noise and everything seemed to get looser. I say seemed as the bolts sheared clean off leaving me with no way of remounting the caliper. That was the end of my antics that weekend.
It’s a good job I bought a second car because the 330 was disabled pending a parts delivery as I decided it was somewhat foolish to drive with no rear brakes. Parts were delivered and after more swearing, a big gash on my left index finger and even more penetrating oil I successfully replaced the handbrake.
I thoroughly inspected the rear suspension to see where the clunky noises were coming from and today Manfred will see a new set of rear shocks to match the Bilsteins up front.
I’m not ready to say that buying the 330 was a terrible mistake because I am having so much fun tinkering with it and am skilling up ready for my first proper project car.
However, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Always buy a California car.