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My Grandpa's Car

 

 

I'm not certain where to start with the story of this car...so, I guess I'll start at the beginningish.

At somepoint in 1989 my Grandpa bought the vehicle pictured above.  This car replaced a string of questionable vehicluar decions after he parted with his mid 70's Benz.  These questionable decions included a Lincoln Mark VII and a Range Rover...clearly this BMW was a step in the right direction!  Unfortunately, in the mid 90's after only a few years of ownership, he became unable to drive any longer.  The car then hung around as a spare car for the family / 2nd car for Grandma.  The years ticked by and maintenace became lax.  As anyone familar with high-end german cars can tell you, ignoring regular and rigorous maintnance is a death sentance for the car.  The only good news was that due to it's limited use, the mileage accumulated very slowly on the car.  By about the year 2000 the car had about 50K miles on it.  

In 2003, after a string of breakdowns and other issues due to lack of maintenance and a crooked mechanic, Grandma was ready to send the car to the wrecker.  Now keep in mind, I had been in love with this car from the time Grandpa bought it.  At the, time I also happened to be paying the bills as a Certified BMW Mechanic at a local dealership.  i convinced Grandma to sign the car over to me.

Late in 2003, I took over ownership of the car.  I was able to keep in garaged at Grandma's which was a bonus, as I had no garage space of my own.  I addressed the critical issues and started catching up on some deferred maintenance.  I put about 13K miles on the car over the next 2 years. At the end of the summer of 2005 during a road trip, the car developed a bad miss.  I did some diagnosis, which helped but I was unable to get it running perfectly.  It seemed like all that deferred mainenance had finally caught up with old girl.  At this time, I was in the thick of my Comp Sci program, no longer employed at BMW, and as such lacked the time and money to really fix the car, then life got in the way, etc.  The car sat in Grandma's garage for 6 years with 73,887 miles on it...waiting.

This winter Grandma informed me, "I'm selling my house, you have to do something with the BMW."  I figured this was a sign..it was Time:

Late in December, I rented a tow dollly from U-haul and hooked it up to my Jeep to tow the 750 the 30 miles home.  If the above looks like it was an extraordinarily bad idea...it was.  The Jeep is rated for 3500 lbs of tow capcaity, I have a 4000lb hitch.  The curb weight of a 750iL is about 4300 lbs.  I was just sure to take it easy and we made it home without incident.  As a side note, the 4.0 I6 in the Jeep is an amazing engine.  It pulled the addiitional 2 tons up hills and whatnot with out complaint.

Unfortunately, with it being a pretty snow heavy winter, I was not able to get to the car until it all melted.  Once spring came, I looking longing at the car sitting in the driveway, washing it every couple of weekends. Finding the time can be difficult sometime.  Then, inspiration struck.  As it turns out, we're planning a trip to Iowa in July to visit my wife's family.  A couple weeks ago she said, "Gee wouldn't it be neat (and comfortable) to take the BMW?" 

And so the project began in earnest.  I gave the car a pretty good going through, making a checklist as I went of everything that would need to be done to bring the car back to "perfect".  Currently the list stands at 53 items.  Obvioulsy not all 53 need to be done July (thankfully).  For the trip, I'm doing a full tune-up, changing all the coolant lines, rubber brake lines and the hydraulic accumulators for the rear self leveling suspension.  That should get us to reliable and comfortable. 

That's the basic story and where we are today.  I started in earnest digging into the car this weekend...but that's for the next post.