I've just thoroughly enjoyed a weekend in my E34 5 Series, following some servicing work and a new set of wheels and tyres. There are still plenty of jobs to be getting on with, but it's feeling better than ever.
As I mentioned in the last update, I paid another visit to Meridien Majestic in Bournemouth, where the 520i had a new set of spark plugs and its coolant and engine oil replaced. A quick test of the diff oil showed it wasn't changed long ago, so that was left alone, and the 'box would have been done, but I, er, forgot to buy the filters. Next time!
Mikey took me around the car and delivered his expert verdict on its overall state, and the news was good. The front discs and pads had clearly been replaced recently, while the rear pads were new and the discs in good shape. There was little corrosion underneath; the only real issue was the offside front drop link, which had worn, two of which can be had for just £20.
The other issue I wanted help with was the fact that the battery was still draining too quickly when the car was left standing. It didn't take long to find the source of the problem after carrying out an ignition-off amp draw test and pulling the fuses out one by one.
Out came fuse number 20 and down went the draw, so there was our problem. Next time we'll set about investigating the wiring diagram for that particular circuit and solving it for good, but for now, I've had to sacrifice a working clock in the interest of being able to leave the Five stationary for a couple of days without worry.
Back home, I set about removing those Alpina-style wheels and fitting the standard cross-spoke 15in set I'd found on eBay. Now, I have a confession to make: they weren't quite the brilliant purchase I'd hoped for, mainly because the tyres sported a rather strange size: 230/55/390.
What's 390? Well, a quick Google search revealed that I'd "fallen into the metric trap". I knew this because it was the forum thread header attached to the first Google result. More investigation revealed that metric tyres aren't really manufactured any longer, and anyone with the Dunlops I needed were cashing in and charging between £150 and £200 a corner, new.
Thankfully, my set have around 4mm of tread left and I don't plan on doing huge miles, plus I've spied a couple of barely worn metric Dunlops online for more agreeable money, so it isn't a huge disaster. Also, I think the new wheels have transformed the look of the car in a good way, and the ride quality is even better than it was before. They just need a good balance.
So the 520i is in a good place. It starts on the button, now rides nicely, has a reliable battery for the time being and runs extremely smoothly without ever getting hot or offering patchy power delivery. The gearbox service, wheel balancing, electrical issue and indicator lights are left to do, but all of this should be an afternoon's work with the right kit.