Log about my BMW E34 1996 525 TDS Touring

BMW Log - 174,255 miles MOT

Passed MOT with no failures!

Just a few cautions about cracked high rear brake light, and some worn gaiters on control arms (bloody things), but not enough to fail. So pleased with that.

BMW Log - More Handling

The car is currently handling quite poorly again. I have a lot of play in the steering and it feels, unfortunately, like the control arm bushes at the front are wearing ouot again.

Control arms - I think I have now learnt that the cheapest option is not always the best option. I have read people saying that you should use OEM quality parts for the control arms alse you will end up changing them much sooner than expected. This seems to be the case as I have fitted the low cost option twice now since the new year (only four months ago!) and am in need of replacements already.

BMW Log - Water Pump

@ 168,570 miles

Just the day I went on paternity leave, we were luckily just getting home when the car started making a very funny noise and I could feel it too. It was an awful rumbling noise accompanied by vibration from the engine being felt through the steering wheel. Not nice. I had grim thought when listening to it at first thinking, oh no maybe the crank bearings have gone, as it sounds like a horrible, low down, internal knocking noise.

BMW Log - Rear Pads

Changed the rear pads on the BMW @ 170,260 miles. Easiest job I have done on the car so far.

Make sure you chock the front wheels as this is obviously a rear wheel drive car and therefore nothing will lock the front wheels as simply as putting it in gear, like on a front wheel drive car.

Wheel off, two bolts on the back of the caliper off and the caliper comes off.

Remove the old pads. I tend to clean the area up a bit, where parts mate, i.e. where the pads sit in the caliper carrier; I just clean it up with a wire brush to remove accumulated crud.

BMW Log - 167,000 Miles

Oil and filter change. Never seen so much oil come out of a car... but then I am used to cars that use their oil. This car dumped what looked like its full 6.75l of oil, hopefully indicating that it doesn't use/loose any oil. I hadn't changed it since I bought it (bad, I know) and who knows how many miles before I had it it had been changed, so it had done at least 15,000 on the last oil without loosing any.

I do try to change oil at a maximum of every 10,000 miles.

BMW Log - Front End Sorted-ish

Well I was right, the tyres were badly out of alignment and scrubbing badly... so badly the front two tyres wore almost completely smooth in 5 days (~500 miles)! So not only a puncture to replace but now the front two tyres so it had to be new tyres all round. Now I am glad I had already replaced the wheels so I could at least buy normally priced/sized tyres. Still not what I wanted to be doing right now.

The tyres were shocking... I was shocked!

Bald Tyre 1Bald Tyre 2


BMW Log - Aftermath of changing Control Arms on the BMW

Well after changing the control arms on the BMW to sort out worn bushes, as ever, I have inevitably introduced new problems. To be expected really... any suspension component work is always likely to throw the wheel alignment out on a car, I just didn't realise how sensitive BMWs are to badly aligned wheels.

BMW Log - Control Arms

One of my to do items for the BMW was to change the control arms, as the wear in the bushes/ball joints was becoming very apparent.

The symptoms are basically wobbling / vibrating of the front end of the car, not just through the steering wheel but you could feel the whole car shaking from side to side. It started at just certain speeds on the motorway, about 50 - 60 mph, which then progressed into bad vibration under braking.

It all came to a head finally at the most inconvenient time (of course) when setting off to drive home for Christmas to visit family. It just started vibrating & wobbling at nearly all speeds and felt very unsafe. So had to limp home and use the Audi, I unfortunately, but fortunately, still have.

BMW Log - New Wheels

The original alloys that came with the car, although I like them a lot as they have the original style and feel of the original car, are actually very annoying in as far a they are metric. This means tyres are a problem.

New Wheels

BMW Log - Things To Do

160,000 miles currently, and there is a list of things that need doing: