Monday, January 19, 2009

93 VANOS Gasket and Outer Tie Rods

Today, I decided that I would try and fix an oil leak that shouldn't have been there in the first place. Back when I put the rebuilt VANOS unit on the 93 525i, I was a bit confused by the installation instructions and didn't do one of the things they said to do correctly. When you are putting the VANOS back in, you need to put some sealant around the two end indexing dowels that help line up the gasket. I didn't do it properly when I put the VANOs back together the first time and it developed a leak right where you would expect one.

This morning I got up early to work on the car because my son needed to go to class, but ended up not going because he is sick. I started on it a little before 6 am. The whole thing took me a little more than two hours. Since I had just put a VANOS unit on the 95 525i when I did the head gasket, I could almost do it from memory, but I didn't. Everything came apart and went together quite quickly.

It started up and ran great.

Later in the day, since the car was just sitting there, I decided to change out the Tie Rods. Originally, I was going to replace the Center Tie Rod and the two outer Tie Rods. But after checking it out, I decided to just do the outers. The Center looked and felt to be in good condition.

This job only took me an hour to complete. I was able to use my new handy dandy ball joint tool to remove the Tie Rods, and it worked perfectly. When you are installing new outers, you need to make sure that you get the length right or the alignment can get way out of whack. The way the outer Tie Rods are set up is a Rod had two screw in ball joints, one on each end. One end had left hand threads and one end has right hand threads. It's done this way so the rod can be turned one way or the other to make the space between the ball joints longer or shorter. I know that it affects toe-in and toe-out.

I thought that I had measured and got the new ones very close to the old. Apparently not so much. When I got the parts all back together, I took it out for a test drive. Man, the steering felt really weird. I went around the block and when I turned it almost seemed like the steering wheel wanted to turn on it's own. I got back to my driveway and could see tire marks on the concrete. It looked like someone had burned out on the drive. As I pulled back in, I looked in the rear view mirror and could see I was leaving more marks. Something was definitely not right.

I pulled it back in to the garage and parked. I looked at the tires and could tell that the backs of the front tires were protruding almost an inch more than the front. I remembered when I put the outer Tie Rod ball joints back into the steering plate, I had to move the steering plate out a bit. I thought that I'd bumped them while removing the old Tie Rods, but apparently I hadn't done such a good job of measuring the old Tie Rods, or getting the new ones set up correctly.

I put it back up on the jack stands and turned the Tie Rods one turn in (pulled the back of the tire in) on both sides. Tightened everything up and what a difference, it felt like before. One of the reasons I put new stuff on was the rubber boots were torn on the Tie Rods. I also needed to get it into the shop for an alignment and didn't want to send it there without putting the new Tie Rods on. The tires were wearing badly on the outer edges, to much toe-in I think. Anyway, I decided to turn the Tie Rods one half turn more. Figured it couldn't hurt since the tires are trashed anyway.

I have an appointment to get it aligned on Wednesday. I'm going to need two new tires too.

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