My Other Car is a BMW #3

You can’t hide from Toyota quality issues by putting some pinstripes and a Roundel on your Scion XB.

BMW badged Scion

I snapped the photo in front of a local auto parts place. The owner was working under the hood as I snapped the photo.

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Imperial Palace-A Car Museum You Can Shop

The Auto Collections at The Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada (@AutoCollection on Twitter) is billed as The World’s Largest Classic Car Showroom.  A significant number of the cars on display are for sale from the $14,500 Yugo to the multi-million dollar Ferrari’s and Rolls Royce’s.  If it catches your eye and your budget–just step over to the sales office and start the paperwork.

The last time I visited this museum was back in 2001 while on a business trip.  The museum appears to have been expanded and the collection has been turned over significantly.   A tip for those who plan ahead–you can visit their website and print a free admission coupon.

Imperial Palace

This Cadillac convertible was located in the Grand Salon and appears to be suited for the Joker or Prince–who knows?  The purple on black color scheme was an absolutely amazing combination for such a stylish car.  The extensive use of chrome accented the lines and paint of this vehicle.
Imperial Palace

This 1946 Delahaye 135MS Roadster in a beautiful blue jumped off the floor with its flowing lines and classic styling.  This car has lived the life with time being spent in Hollywood and racing in Monterey.
Imperial Palace

I am willing to admit that I am getting older and my tastes are changing.  I used to hear my grandfather talking about the classic cars of the 1920′s and 1930′s and I just didn’t get it.  They lacked the flowing lines and big engines of the 1970′s muscle cars of my generation.

I can confidently say that I now get it! The workmanship, detail and materials were incredible and should be appreciated as a bygone era.  Of course this 100pt restoration of a 1931 Ford Model A doesn’t make it difficult to see all of those aspects.  You can take it home for $75,000 and impress the neighbor’s grandparents.  I am sure they get it.
Imperial Palace

If you find yourself in Las Vegas, don’t miss your chance to get out of the smoke filled casinos and make the journey over to the Imperial Palace Hotel parking garage to fill your eyes and noses (yes, oil and gas does smell better than smoke to me) with the Auto Collection.

Check out the full photo gallery here with more than 200 photos from my two different visits.

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Keep your Cool–Preventative Maintenance for the BMW Z3

A quick search of the Internet for “Z3 Water Pump Failure” will tell you that just after 60K miles you need to start to think about replacing the plastic impeller driven water pump.  Those who choose to push the envelope or think they might win a car at a slot machine in Las Vegas might wait a little longer like 89K miles.  After our trip to Las Vegas and failing to win a Corvette or BMW 3 Series–I decided it was time to make the investment.  I ordered the parts from a variety of sources;  BavAuto, Pelican Parts and Auto Parts Warehouse and prepared to do the work.  I found that Auto Parts Warehouse had some of the best prices, particularly on the new radiator and their two day shipping was free.

Z3 Coolant System Repair

When the parts arrived on the doorstep I was finally ready to get dirty.  The part’s list was as follows (see how shiny and new in photo below):

Serpentine Belt (#11 28 1 739 816)

Air Conditioning Belt (#11 28 1 470 023)

Radiator and Reservoir and mounting clips (#17 11 1 728 905 and #17 11 1 723 341)

Thermostat (#11 53 1 432 884)

Water Pump (with metal impeller) (#11 51 1 734 602)

Upper/Lower Radiator Hoses (#11 53 1 743 535 and #11 53 1 247 261)

BMW Coolant / Distilled water

Z3 Coolant System Repair

The Bentley Z3 Service Manual, does a good job of documenting the process that you will follow for the repair. In the photo below you can see the cracks in the old serpentine belts. Millions of revolutions, years of wear and lots of engine heat are a recipe for disaster if you don’t replace wearable items like this. I had a slight bit of hesitation that changing the belts might be difficult to do–but in the end it was a piece of cake.

Z3 Coolant System Repair

As for the water pump, the photo below says it all. I tried to use the bolt holes to back out the pump from the block.  Only the pump had a different idea, the wings sheared off the pump leaving it stuck in place.  A few minutes of cussing and a beer later, I used a brake cylinder tool to slowly extract the pump by alternating from one side to the other as I expanded the tool.  After the pump was extracted I had to dig out the impeller blade and remaining piece of the the pump.  I don’t know if it broke before or after, but it is definitely a lesson learned to get the original pump out and upgrade to the metal impeller.

Z3 Coolant System Repair

After all of the parts where back in place and tightened up;  I filled the radiator and followed the instructions to bleed and top off the coolant.  It was now time to take VEGGIEZ out for a long run around the neighborhood to make sure she was free from leaks or any other problems.

I am happy to say there were no problems or issues with the my work.  Now I could truly celebrate with a couple of cold beers and another accomplishment to ad to my shade tree mechanic resume.

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