RIP 1983 BMW 320i

Rest in peace, friend. Today we officially (sort of) say goodbye to a very (very) old friend - let me clarify that he is very very old, but has not been my friend for that long of a time. 

While trying to install a new battery into the 1983 BMW 320i sitting in front of my garage, my friend and I heard a *thunk*. We thought nothing of it, until we walked around the car a few minutes later and noticed the exhaust pipes and muffler had fallen off the car... There they were just rusted off this masterpiece BMW.

Given I hadn't driven this car for a while, and it was only given to us recently, I was still hoping there was some chance to breathe life into it. My friend really needed a car and didn't want to spend much, so I was planning on giving it to him practically for free! 1) I get to help a friend out and 2) I get to vicariously live through someone who gets to drive that sweet BMW on a daily basis.

It just ended up needing too much fixing, and it probably wasn't worth it. At 260K miles, we knew we had to replace the battery, the alternator, and now also the muffler/exhaust pipes. Now this is what we found after just extremely basic inspection. I imagine if we looked any further, there were probably other parts that needed fixing or tuning up. In fact, I could easily imaginge my buddy driving down the highway and not realize that he had been losing bits and parts every so mile or so until he ended up home with nothing but two wheels and his comfy seat.

It was the right decision though to say, you know what there's too much risk involved and already a lot of money I'd have to up front for a crappy car. So I would have walked away too. But now, I have to either find a super passionate car-fixer-upper, or donate this guy/gal.

How 'Load Testing' Saved Me From Walking 10 Miles Home...

Today I learned how to jump start a car... while watching someone else do it.

We have an old 1983 BMW 320i that a family friend had given us before he moved to China and we were just planning on donating it. Recently, a friend of mine found himself in a situation where now he needed an extra car badly. So I thought we could just sell it to him.

I knew the battery was dead, but he came by and we tried to jump it. I learned, from watching him do (what he learned on YouTube), you put the Red to Red, then the Black on the good (battery) Black, and the other Black on part of the engine of the bad car. 

We did that, turned his car own, then a little later started the BMW up. There were several failed attempts and several hours that went by before we finally got enough juice to get the BMW to reverse out of the driveway and drive forward down the street.

Here's where some load testing came in to play. We drove the car down the street, successfully, then back home. Then we went a little farther in the neighborhood, and back home. Then a little farther, and back, etc etc. All the while keeping the car on so that it would charge itself.

At one point though... we drove about 0.5 or so miles away from home (not far at all) and in the middle of pulling out of a school's parking lot, the car just died on us. 

We spent a little time just getting the steering wheel to turn again, and then had to push the car manually back into a parking spot. 

We walked back to my house, got my friend's car, and drove it to the school, where we jumped the BMW again.

By this time, we realized we should have just had one person driving the beamer and the other with a good car/good battery following right behind. Well we did do that all the way home, ended up parking it, and waiting for another day to get the beamer to a day-to-day-working-condition.

We figured we just need to try charging the battery with a charger for a couple hours, then open up some caps to figure out if the battery is salvageable, and also figured out we need to change the oil

 

This is not the usual thing you'd find on this blog, but it was a memoriable experience for me and I wanted to document it.