Category Archives: Maintenance

How-To: Detail BMW with Paint Correction

This car has been in need of a good detail and I finally got around to doing it. First I washed it with Meguiar’s Gold Class Shampoo, then went over the whole car with their Clay Bar Kit. I was surprised at the amount of crap the claybar took off. Then I used a high-speed corded drill with a velcro attachment for cutting, polishing, and waxing.

I started with Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound on a 6″ foam cutting pad from Harbor Freight. After going over a body panel, I would let it dry and then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Next, I used Meguiar’s Polishing Compound on a 6″ polishing foam pad, again wiping it off with a microfiber towel once finished. The last step was applying Meguiar’s Black Wax with a 6″ foam finishing pad. Obviously wiping the excess off with a microfiber cloth.

I took a picture before I started the cut/polish/wax process. Once I was finished, I took another picture to show the results. Keep in mind, the “before” picture is when the car was already washed and clean. The imperfections you see are all swirls or scratches, not dirt.

This animated GIF will switch between images. Click it for high-res.
BMW 135i - paint correction

In the two photos, you can see a lot of things in my garage reflecting off the paint. The two lines near the middle of the photos are power cords, not scratches. The lighter reflections above those are the power boxes on the light stands. All other bright imperfections are either lights on the ceiling, lights on the stands, or bright objects laying on the ground or on top of shelves. Obviously you can see the reflections of the yellow and red light stands themselves.

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BMW 135i – Replacing Spark Plugs (N54)

Now that the car is running higher boost, I decided I should probably replace the OEM spark plugs. I went with NGK 5992 plugs because they run 1 step colder than stock and are gappable.

NGK 5992 spark plugs

I visited Bob again because I wanted to test for boost leaks. Part of me was hoping we’d find a small leak somewhere so I could upgrade to a metal charge pipe with a blow-off-valve and a larger intercooler. We didn’t find any leaks, but I’ll still buy those parts sometime soon.

Bob also has the tools for flashing the DME. My first flash was the free BMS E85 flash. It was okay, but I didn’t notice much. I went back and had him load an E85 flash from Wedge. It was great. I ran it for a week or so, took some logs, sent them to Wedge, and he sent back another version of the flash. This time when I visited Bob, I had him load the new flash that Wedge created. On the way home, I pulled up to an E39 M5 on the highway. He toyed with me and once things cleared up, we were able to do a pull. I put bus lengths on him! I’m not sure if I should have expected more out of his 4.9L V8 or if my car is just fast. I plan on hitting up the drag strip next week.

BMW 135i – CDV Delete & Oil Change

Since Memorial Day is on Monday, I decided to take advantage of the long weekend and do some maintenance on the car. She was due for an oil change so I picked up 7 quarts of Castrol Edge, fully synthetic 5W-30. I also stopped at the dealership and picked up an oil filter kit.

oil-change

I saw a few posts online about people deleting the Clutch Delay Valve for a better clutch feel. Since I was already underneath the car, I figured I might as well try removing this thing:

cdv1

I popped out the locking pins with a small screwdriver and pulled the valve right out. I quickly capped both lines with my fingers because I didn’t want to lose any brake fluid. After that, I simply connected the lines back together without the valve in place. Then I got to work on bleeding the clutch. The whole process only took about a half hour with the help of a friend. Look how restrictive it is!

cdv2

This car has the best clutch feel out of any car I’ve ever driven. The CVD delete paired with the BMW Performance short shift kit and the BMS clutch stop really makes for an awesome driving experience.

BMW 135i – Walnut Blast Intake Valves (N54)

Since I bought the car with about 81,000 miles and the intake valves had never been cleaned, I knew it was due for a walnut blasting. After a brief search through the forums, I found many Midwest N54’ers were happy with A-Spec Tuning in Schaumburg, Illinois. I found their Facebook page and sent them a message. Sean quickly responded and we set up an appointment to get it done for only $300! Considering the local dealership wanted $900, I had no problem making the drive.

My girlfriend and I set out at about 7:30 AM on Thursday morning, filled up with gas, and arrived right on time for my 10:30 AM appointment.  Not a bad 3 hour drive. Sean greeted me as I pulled up and we chatted for a bit. I asked him if he could drop us off at the local Starbucks while they worked on the car because they didn’t have a waiting area. After taking advantage of Starbucks’ free Wi-Fi and overpriced lattes, Sean picked us up about 3 hours later.

We got back to their shop and an E92 335i was on the dyno getting baseline numbers before getting its valves media blasted. Sean said I could get some before/after numbers on the dyno for an additional $100, but I decided not to. It would have been nice to see the power gains from the walnut blast, but I plan on putting that $100 towards JB4 and a pair of downpipes. Sean and I chatted for a while again and he knocked off $25 because it took a little longer than expected.

Brad (who used to work at VS Motorsports) did the walnut blast and took some before/after pictures of the valves. He sent them to me a couple days later and I couldn’t believe what I saw!

before-after-1 before-after-2

Wow! What a difference. Best $275 I’ve ever spent on maintenance. The car feels smoother and seems to have a little more torque.

Sean and Brad are great, honest guys. Sean was always making sure that I was a happy customer throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend them if your direct-injection motor is in need of valve cleaning. I would have done this myself, but don’t have the special equipment and couldn’t pass up the price. I know I’ll be heading back for anything else that I can’t tackle myself (hint: LSD).