2022 was a busy year…and 2023 is off to a great start!

It’s been a while since the site has seen updates, figured I’d do an entire year at once. I’m posting details as they happen. Spring & summer 2023 have mainly been about maintenance, although there have been a few additions to the current fleet.

1986 BMW 635CSi: It needed an overhauled AFM for a few fueling hiccups, so I bought a whole spare car for that one part (seriously). It was only on the road briefly, but fueling is close enough. A few other tasks remain (vague steering, wonky temp gauge, non-op cruise control), but those are at the very end of my list…and they can wait until the weather clears up. Eventual plans include solving a pesky parasitic draw, and I’ll have to build that new motor I’ve been planning for way too long. Otherwise it’s been great!

2006 Mazda Miata GT: The Miata has been turned over to my son for his entertainment (am I not like the worst father ever?). The big project this year is new seat upholstery. He’s decided on black leather with silver thread, essentially stock. Other miscellaneous chores include gluing the leaky rear window. That’s become an annual tradition, I might try something different in the fall. Rhino brand gel CA adhesive is adequate, but not very durable. Pending upgrades include the previously mentioned (desperately needed) upholstery, patching up other leaks, and repairing the defunct A/C. Might be a pressure switch or temp sensor problem. Unexpectedly, the Mazda/Ford AKE ‘credit card’ fob is still working perfectly. We’ve been running it for a year with no problems whatsoever.

2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD: This is my dependable all-weather delivery vehicle, work transport, and light duty towing rig. I’ve had it since late 2021 bit of an impulse purchase. A Facebook Marketplace listing caught my eye. Decent price, low mileage, nice options. I’d never had a Mitsu, why not? It’s a nice all-round crossover, comfy and roomy. Mitsu makes really lovely motors; this one is no exception. This one is a 6G75: 3.8 liter SOHC V6, 24 valve, surprisingly good torque, adequate fuel economy. Another Mitsubishi specialty is their passive AWD system. It does its job with superb efficiency, and it’s reliable and robust to boot. The stereo is excellent, despite the original paper cone speakers. It’s all still original and functional. The fully-independent suspension is more than adequate for the task. It’s also an easily serviced vehicle with a well-thought-out design. However, it’s not all sunshine & tayaki. The 4-speed auto is merely adequate, the hefty curb weight is disappointing, wiring is cheap and prone to splitting, the sunroof is a tragic mess, and rustproofing just isn’t. While the frame is reasonably clean, there is significant rear fender rust, the exhaust has needed continual repairs, subframes look a bit spooky, the fuel filler tube is an outstanding salt trap. That filler tube was so bad it triggered a mandatory federal recall. Mine’s apparently been fixed once already, and the (supposedly) replaced part is a perforated stinker. It’s REALLY bad. While I’m pondering what to do about that, I’ve caught up on required maintenance (timing & serpentine belts, ALL the fluids). It needed a mildly hilarious amount of electrical repairs (broken driver’s door wire harness, bad master window console switch, new rear window actuators). This transmission (a W4A-5A by Aisin) had a significant 2nd gear shudder, but it was mitigated with several gallons of fresh Valvoline Import ATF. I also overhauled the front suspension (new pads & rotors, struts, control arms, tie rods, end links, a CV boot), and the rear suspension (new pads & rotors, shocks, end links & pillow ball carriers, used calipers). To finish it up I aligned the whole deal with camber plates. Alignment isn’t perfect yet, but it’s pretty close.

2015 Honda Fit: It came to us as a bargain, and we needed a reliable car, so we snapped it up. I was somewhat apprehensive about buying a car this small, and there are many rumors about the Mexican production line, but this car has been an absolute delight. Much like my Honda motorcycles, the Fit has been a treat: delightful handling, perky motor, nicely tuned CVT. While it’s certainly built to a price point, every little detail seems to have been thoughtfully designed. Furthermore, this unassuming little tin can of a car has one outstanding trick up its sleeve…simply unbelievable space efficiency. You have to see it to believe it, but the cargo capacity of this little car is over the top! There have been a few little quibbles here & there (it’s needed a battery, Honda’s paint is hilariously thin, OEM tires were completely inadequate, and a broken trunk handle garnish comes to mind). I wish they still sold this car in the American market.

1990 BMW 535i: What was left of it departed in early January. After 315,000 miles the end was nigh. There are more details on the “Parts” page. It’s mostly gone at this time, but if you’re looking for something let me know. It’s place was filled with a 2008 128i, more details about that to follow.

2008 BMW 128i: Once a little space opened up in my driveway, I added an ’08 128i to the fleet. It’s a base model E82 coupe, Crimson over black “sensatec”vinyl, with a 6-speed manual. The only installed options are the cold weather package and some odd “variegated poplar” wood veneer. I’m told it has zero compression in one cylinder. Brakes are seized, it’s barely running, misfires on 1 to 6, MAF errors. We’ll see what this E82 needs to get back onto the road. My thoughts are that it ate a serpentine belt, skipped timing, and bent a few exhaust valves. More details to follow. I’m thinking the 128i will make a fine winter ride, as it arrived with some decent snow tires.

2016 Subaru Forester Premium: This certainly wasn’t my choice, it’s the wife’s car. When the opportunity came to buy one at a reasonable price, she pulled the trigger. She’s decided that I can keep all the random used-up jalopies to myself. She’s the proud new owner of a modern crossover. Sure, it’s not the most fun car ever. It’s not even the most fun Subaru ever. but overall it’s not a bad car. Except for the rear bearings. Those are definitely the worst ever. A “hub shocker” was essential for that job, I don’t see how it was possible otherwise. I watched a few videos to get recommendations, thanks, Mr. Subaru! Despite how good the tooling was, it was still a three hour battle to pound that stupid under-built hub assembly out of the rear knuckle and brake backing plate.

1997 BMW 318iS: Around Easter, the E36 found itself a new owner. These tend to be delicate cars, and this one was certainly broken-in (i.e. all the problematic parts are already broken). The need for a winter beater had passed, so it’s off to a new owner. We’ll find ourselves another beater when the time comes. Might be the 128i, you never know!


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