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OBC Parked ventilation retrofit on BMW e34

Parked ventilation is a special function of the OBC. It allows you to have the ventilation running while the car is parked and the doors locked. This is handy for these cold winters or hot summers. The drawback is the older E34 are not equipped with this function, even though it is expalined in the owner manual.

So you've read everything you can about parked car ventilation. You've futzed with your OBC timer button in myriad combinations, hoping that just once, once, you'll see "VENT". You've read about other's frustrations and successes. OK. I'll stop.

if you've been lusting after this feature, you'll be happy, too. Because it is NOT rocket science. It takes about $15 worth of parts plus I'd guess it'll take about 2-4 hours of your time depending on how familiar you are with how to remove and replace the: glove box, glove box cover, passenger front (by firewall) foot venting and: associated cover, radio, OBC.
You also, I believe, should have a rudimentary understanding of or facility in DC circuitry, Ohm's law, counting and soldering. The second may not necessarily be a requirement. You should know how to read Bentley wiring diagrams, if only to understand how this fits in.

My disclaimer: I do not warrant that these instructions are correct. I furthermore assume absolutely NO responsibility, fiscal or otherwise, if you decide to do this procedure and end up frying something in your car.

How does it work? (Thanks to Ray)

You call it "fresh air feature". Assuming you are referring to what I know as "parked car ventilation":
1) the feature is not temperature dependent. It will work winter or summer.
2) the feature will not activate unless the ignition key is in position "1". I.e., the ignition must be off, but your ignition key must be turned on suffieiently to unlock the steering wheel.
3) in early E34s, in all early 750iLs, and in all later E32s, the OBC's "timer" function key has a dual function, which was activated by "toggling" the timer button to the left or to the right. Toggling to the left activated an elapsed time function, but is not in effect on E34s post-1993 (except in the 540i), even though it is described in the owners manual. (Don't ask me why.) Removing the elapsed time function allowed the "timer" function to store 2 parked car ventilation start times.
4) when you press the timer button repeatedly, does it scroll 3 messages? The LED should display "OFF Vent", "--.--t 1am", and "--.--t 2am" in succession.
5) there is a way to test whether this feature is working: With the ignition key in position "1", press the timer key to obtain the message "OFF Vent" in the LED display. While continuing to hold the timer button (and the "OFF Vent" message in the display), press the "temp" button. Hold both buttons for 5 seconds, the release both buttons. The LED should now display "1N Vent". Next, press the "S/R" button. A motor should whir (opening the fresh air vent)and the blower should start. Pressing the "S/R" button again will turn off the ventilation. Or, you can now remove the ignition key and either press "S/R" to turn off ventilation, or allow ventilation to continue until is shuts itself off after 15-20 minutes (I forget which).
If the test procedure doesn't work, but your heat/ac system works and the OBC works otherwise, there is probably a broken or corroded connection between the OBC and the heating/ac controller board. It mught correct itself if you remove and reintall the OBC's and the heating/ac board's connectors. If this doesn't cure it, forget about "parked car ventilation"!


  • Phillips screwdriver.
  • hex key to remove radio
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Diagonal cutting pliers
  • Soldering iron
  • Good tin/rosin solder
  • Supply of 14 AWG stranded wire. I'd recommend red, black and green insulation
  • "vampire" wire connectors for connecting a wire to an existing wire without cutting the existing wire
  • Radio Schlock 275-218 DPDT relay (an SPDT will work also)
  • An ohmmeter (DVM, preferably)

Before you start work, REMOVE THE NEGATIVE BATTERY TERMINAL FROM YOUR BATTERY and ensure that your ignition is in the off position (remove the key). If you don't, you may only blow a fuse. But you could possibly blow your OBC. Or something else. Given Murphy's ubiquity and caprice, you'll likely nail something (or things that are) very expensive.

1. Remove the glove box and set it aside (see Bentley's, 513-4)
2. Remove the glove box cover (three Phillips screws: as you look towards firewall, right, left near glovebox latch, left near rear), disconnect the light and the switch. Don't break the plastic tabs at the rear. Slide it towards you. Set it aside.
3. Remove the ventilation duct and cover (see Bentley's 640-12, figure 25). Set the assembly aside.
4. Remove the radio.
5. Remove the OBC by pulling the lever at the left rear of the OBC towards you. The OBC will pull out from its connector (26 pin IDC)

At this point, you have access to the OBC connector and its associated wiring. The wires of interest on the OBC connector are connected to pins 21 (black/white or black/white/yellow, my car was the latter) and 9 (red/yellow, direct from fuse f20). The Bentley calls out OBC pin 14 instead of 21. Do not believe the Bentley. It is wrong. Pin 20 is likely not connected, but if it were, it serves as a timer trigger for heating. But I digress.

My car was built in 7/90. It doesn't have a sword, it has a resistor pack. It also has the newer HVAC control. I only paid attention to wiring diagrams EWD-125 to EWD-127. A cursory glance at the '93 wiring tells me that this procedure MAY work with the 1993.

Now for the relay installation:
6. The OBC connector at the rear of the panel slides to the rightfor removal.
7. Cut the cable tie holding the OBC wire bundle to the green cover for the IDC connector. Take care to not cut any wires.
8. "vampire" a 15" or so wire (I used white) onto the pin 21 wire. Call this wire w7.
9. "vampire" a 15" or so wire (I used red) onto the pin 9 wire. Call this wire w8.
10. Find a power wire that's always on that has sufficient amp capacity (at least 15 amps). There are a number of candidates relatively nearby. Carefully connect this wire (call it w3) to the hot wire and run it to where w7 and w8 are.
11. You will see a 3 pin molex connector bundled with two 4 pin molex connectors mated with only one green wire connected to each. Disconnect the four conductor connectors.
12. One of these green wires goes to the blower switch, position 2. The other goes to the resistor pack. Ring 'em out. The latter should always have resistance on it relative to ground. Call this wire w5. The former will show open if the switch is in position 0. Call this wire w1. I used green wires for w1 and w5.
13. You should now have five wires, labeled (you did that, didn't you?) w1, w3, w5, w7 and w8. Grab the relay and figure what pins
are which. The wire numbers that have been assigned correspond to the connector numbers on the relay. If you wish, sleeve them with
heatshrink tubing of an appropriate diameter before connecting them to the relay. Solder them all into place. Ensure you haven't
inadvertently bridged any connectors. Flow the solder! You don't want any cold solder joints here. Trim excess strands of wire away
from each solder joint. Slide the heatshrink down flush to the relay and shrink it, if you used heatshrink.

You now should have the parked car ventilation feature in place, once things are reconnected.
14. Reassemble the OBC IDC connector and its cover with a new cable tie. The "junction" part of the cable tie should be on the same
side as the socket side of the connector.
15. Slide the OBC connector back into place. Ensure that it "clicks" into place.
16. Ensure that the OBC removal lever is set fully towards the outside of the dash. Slide the OBC into place. If you feel anything but mild resistance, DO NOT FORCE THE OBC INTO PLACE. Check out why its not going into place.

At this point, you can test the installation. Reconnect the negative battery cable. Turn the ignition to position 1. Press the OBC timer
button. You should see "VENT" on the OBC display. If you press the "S/R" button at this point, the two LEDs on the timer button should
flash and the fan should come on. If you press "S/R" again, the fan should come off. The OBC display will change to "VENT on" and "VENT
off" on the button presses. Turn the key to position 2. You should be able to operate the fan normally with the fan switch. Turn the switch
to position 0 and then to position 1. Press the OBC timer button twice. You should see something like "00.00amT1" on the OBC display. Enter a time using the "powers of ten" buttons. "S/R" should set the time and the left timer LED should illuminate. Hitting timer
again will bring up the t2 display, which is programmed similarly. "S/R", after a timer has been programmed, toggles its state (eg. if it's enabled---LED lit---and "S/R" is pressed, the timer is disabled). The timer turn-on time is not affected by the disable. When you're done, disconnect the negative terminal of the battery.

If the above doesn't work as stated, you've got a problem. It is very likely a wiring mistake. Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery, if you have not done so. Go through the instructions again, checking your work. Check fuses, especially f20 and the fuse for the wire you tapped for the other "always-on" 12v. Check that the relay contacts are not touching each other or something else. Be meticulous.
Be patient. If you get frustrated, walk away from it and do something else. Have someone else check your work. You'll eventually find out
what's wrong.

So you've tested things and you're satisfied it works. Time to button things up:

17. Replace the radio.
18. Replace the ventilation duct.
19. Replace the glove box top cover. Ensure that you reconnect the switch and the light.
20. Replace the glovebox.


Notes from Janis S:
I would like to add some comments about this article that can make life
easier for another people trying to repeat the procedure described above.

1. I used standard automotive 12V 30A relay, which has different pin numbers. So in my case they were:
w1 - 87a
w3 - 87
w5 - 30
w7 - 85
w8 - 86
2. There is no need to remove radio and OBC, you can use the original BMW park heating/ventilation relay box connector to connect wires w7 and w8.
This is an unused 8-pin connector (shown in the picture) hidden somewhere near to OBC. Connect red/yellow wire to w8 and black/white/yellow wire to w7.
3. "Always on" power w3 can also be taken from the same red/yellow wire, it is protected by 30A fuse that is more than enough for blower, so wires w8 and w3 can be connected together.

Performance chip on BMW e34

Cost: $250


Time: 30-40min

The engine management systems used by BMW are the key to maximum efficiency and minimum fuel consumption... What we want is more power so re-tuning the factory chip provides substantial performance gains and more aggressive set up while maintaining emission standards.

From what I have read and tested , the EAT Ultrachip and Jim Conforti chip are the best chips suited for the E34. But the Dinan Gen III works fine too (mostly high end power).

Only drawback: it is expensive (US$ 250) and you have to drive 92 octane gas. Only the EAT Ultrachip is affordable with it's 199US price.

HP stock/chip
Peak HP Gain
Torque stck/chip
Peak Trq gain
Rev limit
525i 89-91
167 / 179
15 @ 5000
164 / 177
15 @ 5000
525i 92
189 / 204
20 @ 6000
188 / 201
13 @ 4500
525i 93-95
189 / 211
22@ 6000
193 / 210
20 @ 4000
535i 89-92
208 / 222
43 @ 6250
223 / 237
21 @ 2000
530i 93-95
215 / 238
23 @ 6000
222 / 228
23 @ 3000
540i 93-95
282 / 296
19 @ 3000
277 / 292
33 @ 3000
M5 91-93
311 / 343
39 @ 3000
282 / 294
38 @ 3000

Gain reported with Jim Conforti chip.

1) Locate E-Box (Electronics Box) in the engine compartment
2) Remove E-Box cover by loosening (4) screws securing cover to box and lift cover straight up
3) Release DME harness from DME by lifting up on DME harness latch

4) DME harness may now be removed from DME unit by lifting up

note - there is a set of tabs on the opposite end of the harness from the latch that are used to line up the harness contacts for installation - line this up first during reinstallation

5) Remove the DME mounting clips (pull upward) that secure DME to E-box chassis - DME will now be able to be slid/lifted out of the E-box

5b) On certain model (like the 535i) the DME is held by two screws.

6) DME Unit removed. To remove the DME chassis cover, remove the (4) #20 Torx screws securing the DME cover to the DME chassis. Next you need to lift outward on the white pin on bottom of DME chassis to unlock the mounting pin in the center of upper DME board.
6b) On certain model (like the 535i) the DME cover is held by tabs that need to be pried out.

7) Lift upper DME board away from DME chassis
In the 540i, there are a few snapping mounts that will disengage during this part of the procedure. a- one center pin mount. b- two tabs on DME harness (note - these can be released with either a screwdriver or the like to lightly pry tabs inward). c-two outer mounts (picture in the right). The upper DME board is now free to slide out / away from the DME harness
7b) Nothing to do for the other model because there is only one board.

540i DME (two boards)

535i DME (one board)

8) You may now lift / pivot the upper board away from the DME chassis to expose the chip location that will be involved with the chip swap.
8b) Nothing to lift on the other model.

14) Stock chip removal: the white or black stock chip cover will need to be removed first, this is done by inserting a narrow screwdriver into one of the pry slots on the chip cover and prying to release the cover from the chip (note - cover cannot be installed when performance chip utilizes a decryptor board)
Next - make note of the orientation of the stock chip in the socket, which end the notch in the chip is towards. The new chip will need to be installed in this orientation. To pry the chip out, insert a small narrow screwdriver under the stock chip at one end and pry up slightly - repeat on other end of chip and repeat back and forth until chip is unseated from the socket. Do this in very small amounts of lift to ensure that chip is removed from socket without bending the pins.

Installation of the chip is quite easy. Assure that the tab/notch on the chip you are installing is in at the same end as the stock chip was. Gently press the chip into the socket - assure the the chip is fully seated into the socket.

15) On the 530i/540i, since the decryptor board was used in this application - the chip was too tall and the aluminum case needed to be lifted slightly away from the top DME board to prevent excessive rubbing between the TMS Conforti chip and another IC on the lower DME board
I chose to clip a washer in half and shim the case up a bit on the rear two DME cover chassis mounting points to give the upper DME board more room inside the case so that the chips (TMS Conforti chip on upper DME board and an IC on lower DME board) were not rubbing. I secured the washer/shim with electrical tape. These pictures were taken after two months of running with this setup and no excessive rubbing/wear was noticed on the conflicting chips (TMS Conforti chip on upper DME board and an IC on lower DME board).

Important: Start the car and let it run for at least 1 min for the computer to reset.

If the car starts, everything is fine, if not... you may have a bent pin or the wrong chip and/or fried your computer... Arg!
You may want to call and double check that you have the right chip prior to change it (tell them the last 3 digits on the bosch sticker located on the computer 400, 401,402 or 403)

Door Removal on BMW e34

Cost: Cheap

Procedure and photos courtesy of Scott Shackelford

If you have a problem with the door stop, the electrical windows or anything located inside the door, you will have to remove it.

1. Gently pry up the mirror controller to access the screw behind the arm rest.
2. Simply unscrew the doorlock.
3. Remove the small screw cover to access the speaker screw.
4. Removal of the speaker. Just pull it out and disconnect the wires.
5. Yet another screw behind the speaker.
6. Starting to pry the door panel off.
7. The panel is just about off. Note that the mirror cable was disconnected. The red cable is for the door handle. Make sure that you lift the door UP and OFF.
8. Another shot of the cable for the door handle. It simply comes right off. No real effort is required for this.
9. Peeling back the foam insulation to expose the power window motor, etc. This is how you gain access to the door break.
10. The broken door brake. The screws that held it in to the door had actually ripped the metal and caved into the door.
11. Shot of the repaired door brake. I used JB weld and a washer to provide extra support to the metal after it had caved in. I had to pry it out with needle nose pliers.

Leather treatment on BMW e34

After 5-10 years, the seats of your Bmw E34, E32 will probably look like mine, with small cracks and discoloration. It is time to renew this leather.
I bought my products from Leatherique.

  • Leatherique products
  • 300 and 500 grits sand paper
  • Terry Towel or soft cloth
1. This is my seat before applying the leatherique products. You can see the difference of colors and little cracks.
2. Vacuum the surface of the seats well or use a soft brush to remove large particles of dirt, paying particular attention to seams, folds, and cracks.
2. Apply the Rejuvenator product on all seats with your bare hands, massaging the leather.
3. You have to let the car sit in a warm spot (sun will be perfect)to have a greenhouse effect, for a day. In cooler weather, or for long-term storage in a garage, cover the seats with plastic wrap, and "warm" with a hair dryer.

4. The seats absorbed the product and the leather is softer. What you see is simply the dirt, grime, air pollution, perspiration, salts and other toxins that have floated out of the leather to the surface.

If you don't dye the leather, Apply Prestine Clean by hand or with a soft Terry Cloth towel and massage out the dirt.

5. Using 300 grit, lightly wet sand the leather to smooth out any cracks and hangnails in the surface, and to remove the surface of the old dye and as much of the old dye that is loose and worn from age. Do not attempt to cover over damaged dye.
6. Apply another coat of Rejuvenator as the seats will absorb it right away.

7. Apply the Prepping Agent liberally with a terry towel or shop rag, and clean to remove any remaining dirt, ensure the top layer of old dye is broken down. Resand with wet 320 if needed . If you are filling cracks with crack filler, this is the time to do that step. Apply crack filler only into cracks only. Allow to dry 20 minutes and refill as necessary. Resand with 500 for a smooth, flawless finish if needed. Let it sit overnight or about 6 hours to allow prepping agent and crack filler to dry.

8. Brush (top quality synthetic, acrylic type brushes) or spray on your new dye in a dirt free environment, preferably indoors. Thin dye to prevent heavy buildup of color. Temperature of 20-30C (70-85F), low humidity, no rain.
9. Let it sit for 48 hours then buff it up with a lint free cloth. Use Prestine Clean in the future for maintenance (in a year).

10. The only mistake I have done is that I should have cut the die with water, it was too thick so you can see the brush pattern. I sanded the seats with 500 grits sand paper until the seats are smooth to the touch... hummmm, I love that.

Carpet Dying DIY on BMW e34

United Bimmer Do-It-Yourself Disclaimer: The following tutorial is meant as a guide and is not guaranteed to be complete or 100% accurate. By following this DIY, you understand any work done on your car is at your own risk and we hold no responsibility if you break something. If you feel uneasy with this risk, we recommend you take your car to a professional mechanic to have the work done. Otherwise, enjoy yourself and good luck!

After going through the door panel/dash dying, I wanted to give the dye another go. My carpet was subpar, and probably the worst part of my interior. The previous owners left me with stain after stain, and the carpet itself faded into a light "poo" looking mat. So, I said, why not dye it? I did look around for a black carpet, but I was getting too high of quotes to even bother. That will just become a last resort. So, I had 2 cans of Satin Black VHT Penetrating Dye from the doors and dash, and gave the passenger side a go. Here is what I used to get this done:

- VHT Penetrating Dye, Satin Black (9 or more cans)
- Big Nylon brush (VERY IMPORTANT)
- Shop-Vac/Vacuum Cleaner
- Big Box Fan
- Face mask
- Anything to remove all the seats from the car (16mm deep socket, T-50 Torx, and so on)
- Flathead/Phillips screwdrivers

The first thing to do is to go ahead and remove your seats. If you don't know how, just search around the forums. I don't really want to go into detail, because this can be used on any car, really. Anyway, after all the seats are removed, remove anything that may get in the way, like the center console, any lower dash pieces, pedals, side trim, and so on. Now, take a vacuum to every part of the carpet, and use the nylon brush to brush any dirt up for the vacuum. Get it as clean as possible. If you want, you could steam clean the carpet, but it is not 100% needed. If you do steam clean, give it a day or two to dry, so the dye won't have any issues. Alright. Once it is all nice and clean, go ahead and grab a can of the VHT carpet dye. Shake up the can for a good 2 minutes. Now, here is the main trick that concerns most, if not all of you. What you do is just spray the dye in a long line in one direction. Now, take the nylon brush and brush it in that direction. Quickly go the opposite direction with the spray, and then brush it in that direction. Do this until you get a nice, even, black look to it. Now, repeat that until your carpet is black. Now, wait overnight, and go for another coat. You should be able to get 4 cans of the dye per side on a 3 series. It might be more if you are dying a bigger car, like a 5 or 7 series. When you are dying, WEAR FACE PROTECTION. This dye can be vary harmful if you breathe it in, so I recommend finding a mask that is used for paint. You can easily find one at Home Depot/Lowes. Also, to help with the fumes, take a box fan and set it in between the front door, and work on the opposite side. Take your time and go slow if needed. When you are done with the dying, let it sit one more night, and then vacuum one last time. Reinstall everything, and you are done! Here are some pictures of the process:


Brush (Notice that I did go out and buy a bigger one) -

Shop-Vac -

16mm Socket -

Fan setup to pull fumes away -

First coat, first side -

You can see the bigger brush -

First coat, second side (and yes, you can dye the mat, it holds up fine and looks really good) -

Some more pictures -

Done, but now dirty -


- No, the dye does not make the carpet rough. That is where the nylon brush comes in. The brush is a MUST to keep the carpet soft and to lay down even coats of the dye.

- Yes, I probably should have removed the center console and lower dash covers, but I am a lazy man and they need redyed anywho. A lesson to be learned here is to always add more coats then needed. It lasts longer and looks better.

- Do I like it? Hell yeah! It turned my interior into a newer interior, just with the carpet. Now, if I wanted to, I could reupholster my seats and go completely black.

- It will smell a bit for a week or two, but you could easily have it disappear faster if you used something like fabreze on it.

- Will it last? Probably. My door panels have seen a better life since I dyed them, that is why I told you to get an uneven number of cans. Leave one of the cans in your garage for any future touch-ups.

- Any questions? Post them up.

Blacking Out Chrome Trim On BMW E30

In this tech article, I will go over the simple steps involved in blacking out the chrome window trim on the early BMW E30 3 Series Models from 1984-89. This tech article applies to all BMW models and other cars in general as well.

On the BMW 3 Series models from 1990 to 1991, the exterior trim was updated slightly to receive new body colored front and rear bumpers as well as a blacked out window trim instead of chrome as on the early models. In my opinion, this was a huge improvement of the looks and character of the car. My car was manufactured right at the cutoff between years, so while it does have the body colored front and rear bumpers, it does not have the blacked out window trim. Instead it features the chrome trim. I’m not a huge fan of chrome trim on cars. In order to keep it shiny, it requires constant polishing and cleaning. In my case, the chrome trim had oxidized; leaving a hazy, bluish appearance that would not shine no matter what I did to it. Believe me, I’ve tried everything from Bon Ami to toothpaste. Nothing worked. So I decided to simply go ahead and paint them black to complete the look of the later cars.

The first step is to wash the trim thoroughly. You want to remove as much surface dirt as possible. Just use soap and water on this. Harsh chemical agents such as acetone or thinner may spill onto the paintwork and damage the vehicle’s finish. I elected to paint the trim while still installed on the car. I could go ahead and remove the trim, however I run the risk of bending or breaking it.

The next step is to lightly sand the chrome trim with 600-grit sandpaper and a little bit of water. This will rough up the surface enough to allow the paint to adhere to the chrome. Just use light pressure. Once you have sanded the trim, you should notice that the chrome appears to have a dull finish. This is exactly what we want to see.

Now get a hold of some painter’s tape. This is a blue tape that has a low adhesion point. We want to use the painter’s tape because it will not damage the surrounding painted surfaces of the car. It has just enough stickiness to stay on the car. Now mask off around all the chrome trim. Use newspapers to cover the windows and body around the area. It’s a good idea to leave and excess of tape around the edges of the trim. This way we can either trim away what we don’t need with a razor blade or tuck the excess under the trim. Just make sure you mask off everything. Don’t skimp on this.

Now we are ready to paint the trim. There are many paints out there on the market for painting trim, however I have found that the best paint for this is Wurth. This stuff is easily the best spray paint I have ever used. It flows smooth, does not run and dries quickly. This is also the paint that the BMW factory uses to finish wheels and trim. It is also available from Pelican Parts (shameless company plug, sorry.)

I decided to use Wurth’s Satin Black Trim paint for this. It is designed to be used on chrome surfaces. Before you begin to paint, make sure that it is at least 70 degrees F. outside and not over 90 Degrees. This will make sure that the paint flows correctly. It if is too cold or hot the paint could run. Now, shake the can until the mixing ball inside starts rattling and shake it for at least a minute. I usually shake it for a good 3 to 5 minutes to make sure the paint has mixed. It’s also a good idea to shake the can in between strokes to keep the paint mixed. Now we are ready to begin spraying.

As with anything else, painting anything takes time and practice. It is an art form mastered only by a few. (That’s why is costs so much to paint a whole car!) If you have never painted anything I suggest you practice your technique on a scrap piece of metal. The key here is control of the flow. What you want to do is keep a steady hand about 8 to 10 inches away from the surface and move the can parallel to the surface you are painting while moving the can across the surface. Try not to arc the can as you spray. It’s also a good idea to wipe the surface you are painting with what is commonly referred to as a tack cloth. This is a rag that will collect any particles of dust that may have landed on the surface. It’s also a good idea to paint in a large dust-free environment with plenty of ventilation, or you may end up stammering and stuttering like Ozzy Osbourne. Paint contains fumes that can cause brain damage. Use common sense. (I must take this opportunity to show my everlasting respect to the Ozzman for using him as an example)

Now start by spraying a light coat over the trim around the whole perimeter. Don’t worry if it does not get over the whole trim. This first coat is what is called a tack coat. This first coat will provide the next coat with a surface to adhere to. Let this first coat dry for an hour before continuing.

After an hour, go back and spray the next coat. This coat will cover everything. Make sure you paint evenly and do not arc the can as you paint. Keep it 8 to 10 inches away and parallel. Now let this coat dry for three hours. After three hours, spray one more coat around the perimeter. This will be the final coat. Now let this coat dry overnight.

Once fully dry, start to remove the masking tape by grabbing one edge and peel it AWAY from the car at a 90 degree angle. This will prevent you from pulling off any of the paint on the trim. Go SLOWLY, and remove all the tape. Once all the masking has been removed, look for any overspray that may have gone onto the body or windows. If it has gone onto the glass, very carefully use a razor blade to scrape it off. If it has gone onto the body, Use car wax to remove it. Just use a very light amount and buff the spot until the paint is removed. It’s probably a good idea to wax the whole car anyway now to accentuate the freshly blacked out trim.

Sunroof on BMW e34

Cost: $40


Time: 1hour

Procedure and pictures courtesy of Russell Jones

There is two problems with the sunroof: the seal seems to last 10 years only and the sunroof holes gets plugged sometimes (putting some water inside the car).(BMA sells the sunroof seal).

Sunroof seal change - PDF Info for BMW 5 series Touring Dual sunroof

1. Open the sunroof (back NOT tilt) to about 1/2 way
2. Then stand up through the roof and look into the roof cavity.
3. The lining is attached to the metal roof panel by plastic clips (which you should be able to see) that clip round a couple of square pegs on the roof section. Open these 2 clips a bit using your fingers so you don't break them. The lining section of the roof should now be able to slide back into the main roof area.

4. Now, close the roof again and then tilt it up.
5. You should be able to see 3 star drive screws on each side of the roof panel - undo them.
6. The roof panel will come out by lifting the side nearest the rear of the car up whilst simultaneously moving the whole roof panel back towards the rear of the car - this is because the front side is held in by 2 tabs which hook into the frame (sounds odd, but you will see what I mean!) - obviously when putting it back together these tabs need to be inserted first.
7. Be careful getting the roof section out as it is reasonably heavy, and you don't want scratch your paintwork if you drop it on the car roof!
8. The seal itself (if it is the original one) is probably glued on, but you can peel it off with your fingers. The new seal (about £35 I think from a dealer) just pushes on. Start with one end in the centre of the rear-facing side of the roof panel and push it on all the way round ensuring a tight fit (quite harsh on the fingers this bit). I needed to trim a tiny bit off the other end as the 2 ends overlapped slightly where they met - this is easily done with a sharp knife. Just for good measure, I also put a little dab of silicon sealant (the 'all purpose' type) on the joint of the 2 ends and wiped off any excess - this helps keep the two ends 'stuck' together and seals it nicely.

Roof drain Holes

Whilst the roof panel is out you may want to check the drain holes are clear. There are 4, one in each corner - the 2 at the front are easily visible and can be cleared by feeding a narrow tube into the hole. I think the front tubes are metal by the way, so if these are leaking anywhere down this section because they've corroded it's mega-bucks to fix.

The 2 at the rear are a bit more awkward to get to, but you can see where they are in each corner if you sine a torch into the roof. These tubes are rubber, and as well as the tube blocking, it may be squashed between the roof lining and the metalwork - causing water to flood out of the plastic roof section under the liner and leak down the pillars to the floor. On mine the rear tube was squashed on a cable clip!

1. Pull out the rear cabin light and feed it back through the hole it sits in as you pull off the rear quarter lining section (if there is a leak, the foam on the back of this section will be SOAKING!).
2. Unscrew the handle in the roof and remove. I think the roof lining is held in place by a combination of metal clips and sticky black compound, so pull down the corner of the roof lining just enough to allow access to the hose and the securing clamp - be careful not to crease the roof lining when you're pulling on it.
3. From here, I removed the clamp and removed the hose so I could squeeze it gently back into shape with some soft grip pliers. I fitted a new hose clamp as the standard one was useless and carefully positioned the tube so that when the roof lining is pushed back up it doesn't get constricted again.
4. Re-fit the handle and the quarter trim - it is worth leaving this out for a bit to dry off if it is wet, and this will also show if the leak is still present in a few days as it will be wet again.
5. Pour some water into the roof and check that the water comes out of the bottom of the car. The front drain holes exit the bodywork just behind the mudflaps on each side, whilst the rear holes exit just before the back wheels. With the holes cleared you should be able to pour a considerable amount of water down without any problems, but obviously start with small quantities.

Refitting of roof section

Fitting is the reverse of removal.

1. Put all the screws in (not too tight because you'll need to adjust it when in place) and close the roof.
2. Then hold stand outside one side of the car and hold the roof up so that it is flush with the rest of the roof and tighten the screws up. Now do the other side.

You'll probably find the roof will be a bit stiff closing until the seal beds in and squashed down a bit. Also, make sure the roof panel is pushed as far forward as possible to help this situation. I found that the roof had to be closed from the TILT position to get it closed properly for a while - it didn't shut properly from the SLIDE position.

Window track on BMW e34

At some point the right rear door window track lost the black fuzzy stuff in a few spots. This caused the window to grab the rubber track along the back edge and it got completely smooshed out of shape. The window was still sealed ok but it was a nasty looking mess and only a matter of time before the window would not be able to close. I obtained the $100 part and rolled up my sleeves. (The window track goes around 3 sides of the window, and has extensions that run along the front and rear edges of the door. It is a very complicated piece of rubber)


1. Remove the chrome plastic trim strip from the upper inside edge of the door panel. It will snap up just before you think it will break, unless it breaks first in which case it needed replacing.
2. Do not remove the exterior chrome strip because it's not necessary, you will scratch the paint and destroy the $40 trim piece irrevocably. Trust me.
3. Pull back sharply on the top of the inside door panel and it will tip back enough so you can do the rest of the job.
4. Carefully snap off the textured black plastic trim piece covering the vertical support strut between the big window and the small triangular window. There will be 3 screws behind it which must be removed carefully so as not to drop them down inside the door.
5. After dropping the 3 screws down inside the door, carefully unsnap the large textured plastic trim piece that runs around the entire upper perimeter of the door on the inside.
6. Remove the rear rubber window track from the black aluminum channel that you loosened by removing the 3 screws. Then maneuver the aluminum part upward and outward till it's free.
7. Pull the front part of the rubber window track away from it's channel inside the large black aluminum part at the front edge of the door. This will expose 3 more tiny screws which you must remove to get the front aluminum piece out. Now the front most vertical part of the window track can be pulled away from this aluminum piece.
8. Pull the old window track away from the rest of the door frame.
9. Now apply a silicone based rubber dressing to all the parts of the door frame where the new window track will have to be pressed in. You will NEVER succeed without applying lube.
10. Starting from the rearmost edge of the door just at the base of the small triangular window begin pressing the new rubber into place. You will have to push very hard using a tool with a hard but smooth edge. I used a bicycle tire removal tool that had a small spoon shaped end that I could push with without damaging the new part. The 1/4 inch rubber strip that holds the triangle window in will wind up underneath the new window track rubber. You will have to add some lube to this area, and gently pry the 1/4 inch strip up and over the new window track. You can do this last.
11. Next the rear black aluminum channel is slid back down inside the door to mate with the silver colored channel that is inside the door. There is a small tab at the top of the silver channel that you need to catch with the bottom of the black upper channel. Then with the black aluminum channel loosely in place push the new rubber window track inside it. At this point you may have to stretch and reposition the section that you just installed around the rear triangular window until the rubber window track falls in the right place. This is why the lube is so important. Before you install the three little screws from inside the door, make sure the position of the aluminum channel is like the one on the other side of the car.
12. Keep working the new window track into place along the top until you get to the front edge. Now install the front-most vertical rubber track (the one that seals the gap between the front and rear doors) into the large black aluminum channel. You will need lots of lubricant again.
13. Tighten the 3 screws of the black aluminum channel in place. Install the front edge of the rubber window track now by just sliding it into the receiving channel in the black aluminum part.
14. Now roll the window up and down a few times CAREFULLY. If anything is out of place and get jammed, it might be very difficult to reposition correctly. Also shut the door and make sure everything looks right. I had a minor problem at the front most corner where the seal just touches the back edge of the corresponding front door seal. When I first shut the door this piece caught on the bright trim that it sits against and folded back on itself. A little repositioning of the front part of the window track and some lube on the bright trim piece got everything working correctly. If I had left that piece folded over that way for a few days I'm afraid it would have taken a set that way.
15. Now you replace the large textured plastic trim around the door frame making sure that the rubber window track at the top goes UNDER this plastic trim. See the other side for reference. 16. Next comes the vertical textured plastic trim that covers the 3 little screws. The secret to this one is to put the rear (of the car) edge in first and then snap it around the front. Snap the top of the door panel back on, replace the chrome plastic trim strip and you are done.

Touring Roof Racks on BMW e34

Cost: $??


Procedure and photos courtesy of Stephen Dull

There are not many reasonable options when fitting racks to the factory touring roof tracks. The BMW OEM option is very expensive. The Yakima rail rider has been successfully used, and there is also a Thule option. Both of these use "long" bars that stick out past the ends of the mounting towers which does not look as clean at the custom sized factory option. A more economical, but very high quality alternative that does result in a custom fit (no protruding bars) is the Oris rack made for Mercedes 124 coupes. The Mercedes towers fit well on the BMW tracks, and only one of the cross bars needs to be shortened slightly to make a prefect fit. Numerous options (ski, bike, etc) are also available with these racks, and seem to be well engineered and high quality.


1. Procure the Oris Mercedes C124 racks (take note that both are different length, and have different height towers). I found mine at a local "performance" supplier.
2. The shorter bar (taller tower) fits perfectly on the rear of the touring, no length modification needed.
3. The longer bar in front needs to be shortened by about 3/4 in - measure tract to track center to be exact.
4. Drill the rivets on one side of the front rack. The tower is glued on but will pull off fairly easily.
5. Note on an un-drilled side how the end cap/lock must clear the outer rivet, and uses the inner as a securing device. The lock also engages the punched "bump" that was cut off the other side - you will need to recreate these functions when reattaching the other tower.
6. The easiest way to do this is use a very thin headed 1/4 bolt (head up - cut to length) on the outside (dol cap can slide by) , and an inside bolt (head down - cut to correct length) that sticks up inside where the original rivet did. A SLIGHT filing of the threads (after installation) of the inside bolt will allow the cap to "grip" correctly. The outside head will also allow the lock to engage (preventing cap from being pulled out) - but a little further out than the stock setup. You could reproduce stock situation by drilling and tapping the tower/bar with a screw in the right place.
7. Reassemble the bar - use loctite on the threads, ensure correct operation of cap.

You now need to make/find "square" nut that will engage the M6 (6 mm) tower screws, and fit the track properly. There are a couple of possibilities. I used the BMW "fender" nuts (actually used for bumper trim) that have thin washers built in. Trim the opposite sides of the washer to fit track, then glue to nut with dab of 5 min epoxy (so nut doesn't turn). A neater alternative is the nut for a "Chinook" style windsurfing fin (little used these days). These stainless T nuts are just the right size - all you have to do is drill and tap for M6 (would have used them but didn't have 4).

The next part is some "spacers" for the underside of the towers so that the downward facing ridge on the towers doesn't interfere with the BMW tracks. (You can see this in the picture) A 1/4 piece of fairly hard rubber works great - just cut rectangles to fit on either side of hold-down screw. I used double thickness of 3M headlight guard material - it has adhesive on one side and was at hand. I first cut the width, but a little long. Then stick to towers (use contact cement if necessary), and use profile of tower to trim ends.

Now you're ready to install. Put nuts in track, engage screws, and move to desired spacing, tighten. You end up with a very clean factory look.