Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Project Acquisition - '96 BMW M3

In my mind, the E36 M3 is an automotive right of passage for the grassroots enthusiast, similar to how an Alfa GTV or bugeye Sprite might have been in decades past. Perhaps it was a crime of opportunity or maybe my soul was being sucked dry by driving something as slow as a Rabbit Diesel Caddy every day but I have been lured into BMW M-cardome. The point in time arrived where an E36 M3 came around that I could actually afford, on offer from my brother, so I jumped on it. In a few short weeks, I will have a new conduit for irresponsible driving.

There were a couple caveats though; it couldn't be driven home as the rear trailing arm bushings were so bad that it corded brand new tires in 400 miles, the front end shook like it had tremors, and the interior and paint were ragged and sun-faded.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cherokee Cylinder Head Failure/Replacement

The universe has an interesting way of self regulation. This is manifests itself whenever I seem to be coming out ahead in my automotive endeavors. Case in point, I get an E36 M3 for a song and I get rewarded with cylinder head failure in my '97 Cherokee.

What started as a nearly undetectable misfire morphed into a coolant drinking, combustion-stifling dropped valve and cracked head after dragging the E36 back from Raleigh. As it turned out, the misfire was due to an intermittently sticking valve at low loads. As soon as the load was high enough to overcome the loss of compression through the valve, all cylinders ignited properly. However, if you drive in that misfire load range for a long, long time you may start to notice some other problems pop up. The valve itself was good enough to go on the wall of offerings to the Gods of Speed. There was some galling so bad on the side of the valve stem that it looked like it was made from aluminum.