Leather Seat Conditioning - Chemical Guys Leather Conditioner w/Scent

  The front seats in Helena are pretty well worn. The driver side is terrible. At this point I believe the only thing to do for it is have it reupholstered or, keep my eyes open for better taken care of seats out of another vehicle. Either way, I need to massage these guys in a regular interval to avoid them drying out and getting worse.

  There are half a dozen different options on the market. The Chemical Guys variation of leather cleaner and conditioner is my first one to try The cleaner seems to work well. I'm not sure what is in it, as the ingredients are not listed. It did seem to clean up the soot from the cigarettes that were smoked in this car once upon a time. Got some grime and general dirt of the back seat from my little one climbing in and out. I think it does a decent job.

  The conditioner certainly does soften the leather. It leaves a visible shine but, is not overly shiny. It leaves a nice polish on the leather if you will. The down side for me is that this stuff is leather scented. It does a good job of smelling like leather but, it is much too strong for my sensitive nose. If I do all the seats in the car, I have to leave the windows open to air out the smell. They do have an unscented version as well. Other than that, I have nothing to complain about for this product. I think it works well but, my knowledge of other leather conditioners is not good. I'd like to try another product once I use up what I have of this. I'll add a comparison of that later down the road.

I've got a few photos of before and after. I think it is hard to tell the difference personally. It is one of those, have to be there in person kind of things. This is not working any miracles on the old leather by any means but, it certainly does soften them and, leaves a nice sheen.

Before - rather dull

After - there is that bit of shine

E36 Intermittent Starter Issue - Starter Motor Research

My Starter has started to intermittently stopped functioning. What I mean by that is when I turn the key to start the car sometimes the starter will begin to engage then, just stop. The engine hasn't had enough time to turn over, in turns it doesn't start. Time to plan a replacement procedure.

Most of the auto parts stores have a China made replacement for around $125 without core charge. Advanced Auto actually has a Bosch for a good bit more. However, they are also running a 20% off special, for online orders only, and free shipping. This brings the price down to non discounted China made starter levels. I personally prefer the Bosch starter simply for the fact that I do not want to make it a habit of taking off the manifold and replacing my starter, period. The parts probably all come from the same place these days anyway but, peace of mind knowing it is a genuine Bosch piece.

I've also been looking at the difference in the starters themselves. It would seem that the original factory starter on early e36 models (per 96) had weaker mounting ears, a bracket that affixes them to the engine, and non threaded holes. All of these things from what I can tell make changing the starter a real pain. Here is a picture of such: http://s82.photobucket.com/user/Dispatch20/media/starter.jpg.html
I found a great video online showing what a disassembled starter looks like as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdNQuPS0U6w
I've yet to tear in to anything. I'm simply researching what I'll looking at getting in to. More to come on this subject, most certainly.


2nd Oil Change - 161353

  Poor Helena has been overdue for an oil change. The last one was at 154xxx. I ran the Castrol GTX Full Synthetic 10w-40 through out summer. This time around I chose to go with a Mobile 1 Full Synthetic 5w-40 Turbo Diesel oil. Broader range with a lighter weight down low for the winter. I'm slightly concerned that the thin oil might do a bit more leaking on Helena's old seals. We will see. The manual also shows me that 15-40 is good down to 14`. I'm not thinking that we will be seeing those temps down here in the South. Its all a learning experience.

Factory manual recommends "Special - Oils" mmm hmm, yeees.

  I followed this Pelican Article loosely. I was confused by the two drain plugs it was telling me to look for. There is definitely only one drain plug on this pan.

So the change is an easy one.
  • Jack the car up.
  • Put her on stands.
  • Use a 17mm socket. Take the pan bolt out.
  • Let the oil drain. Make sure your pan is big enough to support more than 6 quarts, up to 7 quarts of  drainage.
  • Remove the oil filter cap. I used an adjustable wrench. I'm not happy about that though, it ate the plastic up a bit. I'd rather use a socket but, I don't have a 36mm.
  • Take out the oil filter, clean the inside of the filter housing.
  • Drop in the new filter.
  • Put the oil filter housing cap back on. Don't forget to put on the new seal. Do not over tighten this guy. They get stuck on easily.
  • Put 17mm plug back in the pan. 25Nm on the torque. Aka 18lbs/ft.
  • Take the car off the stands.
  • Fill her up with fresh oil. The 2.8 (M52B28) in mine took 6.5 quarts. Remember to check the stick again before you put everything away.
  • Just check your dipstick. Don't overfill.
  That's all there is to it.

  Then I took a few minutes to give the bay a once over. Got everything all shined up and clean. Nice to give her a once over after the hiatus.