Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wooo MPGs

When I first bought my 2000 BMW 323i two years ago, I solved the main problem the previous owner couldn't fix by replacing crankshaft position sensor. I put in a Mayle (made-in-Germany, but non-genuine BMW) brand sensor I pulled off another car for $20, and the ignition misfires went away.

I lasted me until now. The sensor started acting up again, and my check engine light came on. Although there were no misfires, I did notice my gas milage slowly decreasing, sometimes averaging as little as 22 MPG even with mostly highway driving. People online reported that genuine BMW sensors tend to last longer, so I decided this time to spend the $120 on a new OEM sensor.

Right away I noticed my car running stronger. After my first commute to work, the fuel efficiency reading on my dash went up to 31.3 MPG! The highest I've ever got on this car was 26, and that was on long stretches of open freeway between LA and SF. Getting around 30 MPG in a 12-year-old BMW during a daily commute makes me happy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mechanix gloves

These are my favorite. They fit very well, and allow you to pick up the smallest little objects. I like the FastFit version with elastic cuffs that's easy to get on and off. They make a lot of different types.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Headphone cables

Soldering on some new wires to replace ones that snapped:

Monday, December 3, 2012

318ti cylinder head installation

This is the second part of my head gasket fix. I've been putting the engine back together a little bit at a time over the past several weekends. I meticulously cleaned all the parts and worked slowly to make sure I didn't forget to reattach anything. I definitely didn't want to have to take everything apart again.

All the new seals seem to be holding up well. No more exhaust leaking into the coolant. I have yet to figure out why the engine still idles rough. But at least the major fix is done.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Angel eyes LED swap

I installed some daytime running lights, called "Angel Eyes" on bimmers, inside my headlights just for looks. One of the LEDs went out recently, and because they are wired in series, it caused a whole row of LEDs to stop working.

I desoldered a working LED from the end of the ring (that isn't really visible from most angles anyways) and put it in place of the dead LED.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

318ti cylinder head removal

Taking apart the M42 engine to change a blown head gasket. I took the head to a local machine shop to get it pressure tested. I hope there aren't any leaks so I won't need a valve job, or need to replace the entire head.

Update: I got the head back from the machine shop. Good news: no cracks or leaks. There was a little warpage from overheating, but some resurfacing fixed that. It's ready to go back in once I pick up all the gaskets and seals I need.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Topre keyboard dome swapping

The rubber domes in this keyboard were variably-weighted so that the keys towards the edges (commonly pressed by the pinky fingers) are lighter than the keys in the center. It's supposed to make for a more ergonomic typing experience, but it just felt kind of weird to me. So here's taking the keyboard apart and moving the domes around to make the weighting more uniform:

Removable USB keyboard cable

I lock this embarrassingly-expensive keyboard away at the end of each work day. I got tired of reaching behind the computer to unplug it and dealing with a lengthy cord every time, so I decided to make a detachable connector right on the keyboard.

I used parts from computer accessories I already had around: pin connectors from a cooling fan, and the USB port from a USB to PS/2 adapter.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

BMW 318ti Hatchback

I brought home a new project car today. The engine is misfiring, and there's an overheating issue according to the previous owner. But at least it starts!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Extension ladder

Picked up a 32-foot extension ladder for my dad this morning. Folded up, it's 16-feet long on top of the Jeep here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stubborn bolt

My buddy and I were trying to remove the hose from a power steering pump. It was stuck on too tight, and an open ended wrench kept rounding off the corners. We wanted to avoid cutting the hose, so this is what we did:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Macbook backlight

I received a batch of three Macbooks from different friends that were all having problems with the exact same model. I figured to could use parts from one to get at least one of the other two working again.

The first Macbook kept hanging on errors while starting up, but it only required a fresh install of OSX to boot. The second had problems with an intermittent backlight. And the third had major logic board issues and was in the worst shape, so I decided I would use that one for parts.