Having seen a few vehicle fires, it's a terrible thing to have happen. Often there's no access to any appreciable amount of water. Especially when cars are pushed hard (like a track day) it's a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand. I bought a small extinguisher for the WRX but never installed it. While the M5 has been solid so far, I figured it would be a good idea to install the extinguisher in the car.

I found some convenient pre-drilled holes in the metal frame of the seat, so I made a little aluminum bracket to adapter the plastic holster to the seat.

Yes, it's brushed and polished. No, no one can see it once installed. But it sure is pretty sitting on that table, right?

Almost have the M5 buttoned up. After having to cut a nut off the top of the passenger side strut to release the spring and needing my American-made lightweight cheater bars to release the seized collars holding the inserts in the strut housing, I have the suspension put back into the car. Both struts were leaking a large amount of oil so it was a good thing they got replaced. I need to reattach the swaybar and do a 10-min alignment check still tomorrow, but she should drive! I sure hope this fixed the steering issue.

Here you can see where the spring left the perch. It was installed upside down I think, and somehow worked itself loose. It was under zero pre-load when I took it off the car. Didn't even need a spring compressor to disassemble the strut. Scary.

The M5 is acting up. I was pulling out of the garage one morning, and heard a creak from the right front suspension. Pulled over to take a peek, noticed a squeal from the powersteering at full left lock. Everything looked legit, so I continued. Now she pulls right, hard. Like insta-lane-change hard.

I've checked everything! The right front looked towed out, so I changed it. No difference, so I changed it more. Apparently too much, because even the slowest turns yielded screeching tires. Lots of judging looks on that shakedown run. Back to the drawing board. Adjusted tow angles on both sides, all suspension components are tight. Tires all at 36 psi, all lug nuts tight, no brakes dragging.

What gives? I know this is part of owning a 20 year old car, but this one is tricky. Time to put it on the lift.

I refuse to call a 'professional.' I'm too stubborn. But I want to run this car! I had to drive on some of my favorite deserted roads on my way to a friend's house yesterday. That little wagon runs out of steam at 115. Not acceptable. Need the continent-crushing speed of the M5.

Here's a distraction, my German radio I inherited from my engineer grandfather and total gadget-geek. Classy.

April 26

The BMW's onboard computer was kind enough to remind me that I had a dead bulb in my parking light and also a fog light. Sick of getting these messages every time I drove the car after dark, I decided to replace the bulbs. I was quickly reminded how much fun it is to do repairs on old cars, especially when it involves ancient plastic clips. I uncovered a lot more wrong than just a bulb with the fog lights. One lens was cracked and was missing all the mounting tabs. It was just sitting in the hole in the airdam, rattling around. The plastic bracket that holds the assembly was also cracked. Brilliant. That can be repaired easily (and this little bit of plastic is forty bucks to replace), but the lens/bucket assembly is beyond recovery. If I replace one, its tattered mate would stick out like a sore thumb so I turned to FCP Groton for replacement OEM lenses.
  Cracked and sandblasted glass lenses

Proper projector lights
The worst part: broken, brittle mounting tabs. The driver's side fog light was sitting loosely in the air dam. You can also see how badly pitted the glass is: just shy of sea glass from the beach.

E34 BMWs came with a neat rechargable flashlight in the glovebox. It serves mostly as a light for said glovebox, but can be removed to find lost change under the seat. Mine didn't work, so I investigated.

Turns out the NiCad batteries popped at some point. I found a nice walkthrough here and ordered new batteries for just a few dollars.

Disassembled, with dead batteries. Lots of corrosion to clean up.

New batteries fitted

We have light! Just awaiting solder and re-gluing the case. 

 I've gone off the deep end, and bought my first M car.
It's a 1991, late 1990 build. It lost all its M5 badges at some point in time, which I don't mind at all. It's also shod with rare 17x8, 17x9 Style 10's, with nice M centercaps. I didn't much care for the wheels in photos, but in person they're attractive and understated. The lips are nice touch. It also has a neat, 4-seat, leather/cloth euro interior called "Webstruktur" offered on some late, euro-LE models. The front seats are heated and manually adjusted. I'll work on getting some photos of the interior, it's pretty cool and very period. The self-opening rear console is great party trick, even if the mouse-fur dividers seem sized for defunct cassette tapes.

It has a lot of miles. A LOT. I had a compression and leakdown test done and saw good numbers. The valve clearances were checked. On top of that, the owner claimed it recently trapped 98 mph at the drag strip. Not bad for an old gal. She definitely feels like 315 bhp.

It's a blast to drive, that S38 motor howls and just begs for revs. I always read about how M5s tend to shrink with speed and feel better that harder they're driven. It's true. I can't wait to take it to the track to responsibly access that speed. It's very solid and full of character. It's a far cry from the WRX I sold to buy it. It feels like a well-engineered, complete execution instead of a very fast appliance.

Hopefully I won't live out any of the horror stories that can go along with low-production cars. It'll be interesting, for sure.