Why does my car AC Smell?

By | troubleshooting

When you turn on your AC, does it produce a weird odour? If this is the case, there definitely is a problem.

Fortunately it’s fairly common and is caused by a variety of issues, which we will address in our guide to bad air conditioning smells.

 

Mold and Bacteria Growth

The most common reason for foul smells produced by your cars AC is mold/bacteria growth. Air conditioning works by removing heat and moisture out of the air that’s already in your car, resulting in a nice cold breeze.

The side effect of this moisture removal is an ideal place for mold to grow, causing bad smells and potential health implications.

How to get rid of mold

Fortunately getting rid of the mold is straightforward. There are several methods of treatment, fortunately they aren’t too expensive.

Filter Change

Sometimes a dirty air filter can trap bad smells, pushing them back through your vents. Fortunately it’s a straightforward change, and cheap too. Using a Haynes Manual (https://haynes.com) will show you how to change your filter easily.

This filter should be changed according to your maintenance schedule, which you’ll find in the service book supplied with your vehicle or applicable Haynes Manual.

Anti-bacterial cleaning

Killing bacteria that’s grown in the intake ducting, or the condenser will eliminate bad smells. Condensation that builds up from cooling air is usually drained away, however if the system doesn’t get a chance to dry out, mildew can grow throughout the system causing unpleasant odours.

Turtle Wax Whole Car Blast is the product I’ve used to get results, which is an easy and cheap way to de-smell your cars HVAC system.

Step 1: First place the canister into the passenger’s foot well, nozzle facing upright.

Step 2: Next turn the car and air conditioning on, with the fan speed on full in recirculation mode.

Step 3: Depress the button on the can, which will release a continuous stream of spray. Shut the doors and windows on the vehicle and let the spray circulate around the HVAC system. This should take between 10-20 minutes.

Step 4: Keep the fans blowing full speed with the AC now switched off, for five minutes. Ensure the doors/windows are open – this is to dry out the whole system, preventing odours from re-establishing themselves.

 

Ozone Generator

An alternative to anti-bacterial spray is an ozone generator, which will kill all odours in the AC system. If all else fails this is one of the most effective way to eliminate the source of bad odours, and can get in every crevice ensuring complete cleaning.

Ozone isn’t safe to breathe in, therefore precautions should be taken to avoid contact with the produced gas.

To get started:

Step 1: Turn the car on, and ensure the air conditioning is set to full fan speed and recirculation mode, with the temperature as low as possible.

Step 2: Set the Ozone generator to work for 20 minutes, our generator outputs 5g/hr – if your machine outputs more, adjust the time accordingly. Overexposure can cause damage to interior rubber!

Step 3: Turn the vehicle off and allow it to ventilate for an hour or two. Be careful not to breathe any of the ozone gas in, as it can cause respiratory irritation.

 

Burning Rubber

Due to the complexity of a car’s HVAC system, there are multiple reasons why you may smell burning rubber.

Burning off Dust

If you haven’t used your AC in a while, dust and other debris can build up all over the system. When your HVAC system gets up to temperature, this debris will be burnt off releasing a burning odour.

If you still notice the smell after a few minutes, it may be a different problem and should be investigated immediately.

Clogged Air Filter

Despite being a maintenance item sometimes an excessive amount of particulate can build up in your filter, severely reducing airflow. This will put extra strain on the rest of the components, commonly producing a burning rubber smell.

To rectify this issue, changing your filter will immediately get rid of any unpleasant smells. In all cars they’re accessible and can be changed using tools you have around the house! I recommend using a Haynes Manual if you’re unsure how to get started.

Why are my Brakes Squealing With New Pads and Rotors

By | troubleshooting

Squeaky breaks are a common automotive annoyance, potentially affecting all types of vehicle. Fortunately, this is a common issue and can be easily solved. In this article, we will list possible symptoms and whether they are a cause for concern, why they squeak and how to avoid this with new pads.

 

Sounds that Aren’t a Cause for Concern

Not all noises are an indication of a problem. The large variety of conditions we face on the roads, as well as different brake pad compounds which can cause a range of sounds, varying from car to car. Here are a few noises you shouldn’t be concerned about:

Graunching in the Morning

If your brakes make a graunching sound the first few seconds of braking after sitting for a few days or being subjected to moisture, this is normal and not a cause for concern. When rotors are exposed to moisture this can cause the surface to rust, and when you apply the brakes it will remove the rust – which will cause the graunching sound.

Glazed Pad Surface

If you can hear squeaking after long downhill periods of driving, it’s normal as you may have glazed the surface. Friction between the pad and rotor is what slows you down, however, a by-product is heat, if the pad material gets hot enough it can smooth over the surface which results in squeaking. Notice that new pads are rough in texture, the heat from prolonged periods of braking can smooth over this surface, leaving it feeling like glass. Now you will hear squeaking due to the two smooth surfaces making contact.

 

Why do my New Brakes and Rotors Squeak?

Any moving part in a car can make unusual sounds and can happen through no fault of your own. This also applies to your brakes which can squeak and squeal. Modern brakes commonly use a cast-iron disk with a calliper holding two brake pads against the disk. During normal driving where the calliper is released, the brake pads can rattle or vibrate causing an annoying sound.

If you use aftermarket components, they could be using a different compound causing unusual noises. It’s hard to beat standard parts in terms of life, noise, dust production and cost. Unless you’re primarily using a car in harsh environments such as drifting and track events, manufacturer parts are ideal.

Brand new pads do normally make noise before a proper break-in procedure has been completed. This procedure is generally driving a few hundred miles whilst avoiding harsh braking, however some manufacturers recommend a different procedure especially if rotors and disks have been replaced at the same time.

 

Different Sounds and What They Mean

Squealing all the Time

Brakes shouldn’t be making constant noise and under normal use will only happen during engagement. If a constant squeak can be heard it should be investigated immediately. This can indicate a sticky calliper, where the brake calliper that holds the pads becomes partially stuck in the engaged position. This causes constant pressure against the rotor, excessive heat and eventually unwanted sounds.

Common symptoms aside from constant noise from the sticking calliper are excessive brake dust compared to the other side of the vehicle. Excessive heat is another symptom, you can test this by placing your hand at a safe distance from the wheel. If one side of the car is noticeably hotter compared to the other, this is a strong indicator of a sticking calliper and should be resolved as quickly as possible!

Squeaking During Use

A common cause of squeaking is new brakes being fitted alongside old, glazed rotors. A rotor is the surface a brake pad will come into contact with, under normal driving conditions this can become smooth and glazed over, like glass.

If there is sufficient material left on the rotor, a lathe should be used to remove the glazed surface at the minimum. In an ideal world, the rotor would be replaced at the same time for the best surface for braking, whilst following in the recommended break-in procedure.

Squeaking when New

New rotors can have assembly lubrication applied to the disk surface, which isn’t always cleaned off prior to installation. When the pad and disk meet, the friction between the two surfaces is what slows the car down.

If lubrication is present between the two surfaces, this can prevent normal operation due to the nature of lubrication – therefore impeding brake function and potentially causing noise.

This is normal, and even if the parts have been cleaned prior to installation squeaking, squealing and other noises can still occur. A correct break-in procedure is needed to ensure the pad and rotor has been properly bedded in.

 

How to Break in New Pads and Rotors

This will vary depending on the manufacturer of the components but is important to ensure proper contact between the pads and rotor, as well as eliminating hot spots and glazing.
It’s a good rule of thumb to be cautious the first 100 miles of new components. Particularly avoiding hard braking and coasting on the brakes. This will ensure the assembly doesn’t get too hot, as in extreme cases this can cause cracking.

A further 250 miles is required with slightly harder braking to fully bed in the new components. It’s still important to avoid sharp braking resulting in a full stop – however safety is more important than replaceable components, you should never avoid braking when it’s necessary to do so!

EBC has a great resource on bedding in procedures for your shiny new parts.

 

Preventing Brake Noise

Prevention is better than a cure, so what can do you to prevent noise?

Ensure dampening shims are fitted, which prevents direct contact between the piston of a calliper and the backing plate of the pad. Without these shims, you can expect increased noise when braking.

You can use anti-squeal adhesive on the backing plate during installation, which will stick the pad and the calliper together. This ensures the pad and piston within the calliper move as one section, which prevents rattling and movement, therefore, eliminating any noise.

A slight change to driving style by reducing harsh braking while driving where safe, can help reduce noise. Situations that result in unnecessary last minute braking, or coasting on the brakes whilst driving down steep hills can glaze the brake pad surface. When you apply the brakes with glazed pads you will hear squealing, you may have heard this from buses or large vehicles.

Should I Change Transmission Fluid After 100k Miles?

By | Maintenance

ATF is a lubricant primarily used to reduce friction between the moving parts within your transmission. It’s common for different colours such as red or green to be used, making it easy to distinguish it from other fluids used in your vehicle.

It also acts as a coolant, however, once the fluid starts to break down with age/usage it becomes more difficult to dissipate the heat produced. It also loses its lubricating properties, therefore accelerating wear between the rotating surfaces which can cause total failure if not rectified.

 

How Often to Change Transmission Fluid?

As a general rule fluids should be changed on or before 100k miles. Some manufacturers claim these are “lifetime fluids” however it is advised to regardless. The oil cannot retain its lubricating and cooling properties for the lifetime of a vehicle, as they degrade with age and usage.

In all areas of a car with moving parts, metal shavings can also contaminate the oil which is impeding your oils ability to lubricate.

It’s important to check the service schedule of your particular vehicle, as it may differ from the advice given. It’s generally easy to perform yourself, which will prolong the operating life of your transmission and be cheaper than replacing it when it fails. Grinding when changing gears or slippage can be eliminated by performing the correct maintenance according to your service schedule too!

 

Service Interval

Your driving style will dictate the ideal interval. For example, if you drive mainly motorway miles you can wait until your meet your manufacturer interval. Generally 60,000 for an automatic gearbox and 100,000 for a manual is recommended – this is only a generalization, your vehicle service schedule may differ.

On the other hand if you drive in a lot of stop-start traffic, tow, or live in a hot climate, it would be wise to reduce your service interval for maximum life. In these applications, the temperature is much higher than normal increasing degradation and wear. You could half the mileage that your manufacturer recommends to keep it simple.

 

How much does it cost to change transmission fluid?

You can expect to pay between $100 and $250 depending on the vehicle, labour prices in your area and quantity of oil needed. A dealership will be on the upper end of the scale, generally costing 3x as much as an independent garage!

If you decide to do this yourself, you can expect to pay between $10 and $20 per quart, as well as the price of drain/fill plugs if these are recommended to be changed.
Considering the price of a rebuild, it’s not a huge cost by comparison, and is relatively easy to complete yourself – it’s worth noting to remove the fill plug before the drain plug!

Sealed Transmission Fluid Change Cost

Manufacturers have started to make maintenance more difficult to DIY, increasing their profits and keeping customers purchasing newer vehicles. Designs such as a sealed transmissions ensure they last long enough for your warranty to expire before potentially costing big money.

In order to drain or fill, you have to use a siphon pump due to the location of the fill plug. By being sealed it means no contaminants can mix with the oil, the downside is maintenance is much more difficult. As a sealed transmission is slightly more time consuming, expect to pay between $100 and $300.

 

Fluid Change vs Flush

When you drain fluid, you rely on gravity drawing out the old oil through the drain plug. This can leave over 50% of the old oil trapped in crevices that are unable to drain through gravity alone. Once you refill the transmission older fluid and new will mix – although this is better than no maintenance at all, a flush can completely clear degraded oil.

A flush is where the old oil is drained and new fluid is pumped around the transmission, pushing all of the old lubricant out of the areas where it’s trapped from draining normally. This means after a flush there is no residue and old oil, resulting in better lubrication and heat dissapation, and removes metal shavings which occur through normal wear and tear.

Resurfacing Flywheels

By | Library

What is Resurfacing?

Through normal use the surface of a flywheel can become worn, pitted or discoloured. Due to the surface being uneven, it doesn’t meet the clutch smoothly which results in clutch slippage or uneven wear and tear.

To remedy this you can remove imperfections by grinding or cutting, resulting in a smooth surface that meets the clutch evenly. Generally you address this when changing the clutch as this process will expose the whole assembly for inspection, allowing you to resurface or replace parts depending on their condition.

When removed you can perform an inspection using a straight edge and feeler gauge to determine its condition.

 

Why is Resurfacing Performed?

A resurfaced flywheel will have a completely even surface with no flat/hard spots of material. This means the friction across the whole face will be even, making engagement more predictable and smooth. It will also ensure your new clutch is broken in and wears evenly, allowing you to get the full life out of it.

The biggest advantage is more torque can be held by the assembly without slipping, prolonging the life of your clutch. It also makes for smoother and more predictable engagement, making the vehicle easier to drive. As the parts are already accessible when changing the clutch, preventing any premature wear by resurfacing doesn’t involve much more labour or cost.

Inspection

It’s also a good idea to inspect the flywheel before any resurfacing is performed. Any signs of cracking means the part is unsafe to use and should be replaced immediately. Cracked flywheels can explode whilst in use, which will require a new gearbox as well as serious injury!

On many flywheels the starter ring gear is a separate component, that’s pressed on at the point of manufacture. As it’s a replaceable part ensure that no teeth are damaged. If you can’t replace the teeth and there is damage, it’s strongly advised to source a replacement.

 

Precautions

You will need to consult your vehicle manufacturers tolerances, as material will be ground away to create an even surface you need to ensure this is within manufacturer specification. If there isn’t enough material to remove it will need to be replaced.

It’s also important to ensure the machined surface is flat and completely free from defects.

If resurfacing is required it’s a good idea to mark the index position in relation to the crankshaft prior to removal. This is vital with engines that are externally balanced using flywheel counterweights. This step isn’t necessary if the engine is internally balanced.

Dual Mass Flywheels

It’s not recommended to resurface all DMF’s specifically from BMW, General Motors or Porsche. If the flywheel on any of these vehicles is worn it should be replaced.

Other manufacturers such as Ford are able to be resurfaced, once removed you need to separate the primary and secondary flywheels and resurface within manufacturer tolerances. All bolts should be replaced prior to replacement.

 

How to Resurface a Flywheel

The two methods of resurfacing involve cutting or grinding. Cutting will be performed on a brake lathe, care needs to be taken to insure the flywheel turns true on the lathe. This is so that every area of the face is cut evenly to provide a smooth mating surface for the clutch. The cutting of material is performed using a lathe, with the advantage of removing smaller amounts of material compared to grinding. The disadvantage of cutting material away is it doesn’t address hard spots of material, leaving uneven areas.

Grinding is the alternative to cutting, and is generally the preferred method of refurbishing a flywheels surface. Although the disadvantage of grinding is more material is removed, a grinder will remove hard spots of material.

 

Symptoms of Failure

Vibrations

The most common indicator is vibrations at idle or low speeds. You can also feel the chattering through the pedal, and experience erratic behaviour when the clutch engages. Usually these vibrations are caused by a failed spring mount mechanism of the flywheels, therefore reducing the ability to absorb vibrations from the engine/drivetrain usage.

 

Burning Smell

Another indication of failure is a burning smell in the cabin, some describe the smell as burnt toast. The smell is caused by too much heat on the contact faces, this can also happen due to improper driving. If the smell is only temporary after slippage there shouldn’t be any lasting damage, and won’t require a replacement.

 

N54 vs N55

By | Library

Which is better, the N54 or N55?

A common debate in the BMW world, the N54 is the predecessor of the N55, found in the 335i from 2007 to 2009 where the N55 began to be phased into production.

Depending on what you want from each engine will dictate the best choice for you. Below we will analyse the difference between each engine, and what impact this has to the car.

 

Key Differences

Twin Turbo vs Single Twin-Scroll

The earlier N54 features two turbochargers whilst the N55 boasts a single twin-scroll turbocharger. A twin-scroll is a single turbo where each bank of cylinders feeds into a separate scroll of the turbo. Its design ensures each 3 cylinders on the same firing cycle feed into the same scroll aiming to reduce exhaust reversion. Reversion is exhaust gases entering the combustion chamber as the gases react with each other, which causes higher temperatures resulting in less power and higher emissions.

Therefore the twin-scroll design is more efficient, resulting in reduced spool time, increased power and lower cylinder temperatures. Despite the advantages of the twin-scroll design, a true twin turbo setup will also reduce reversion as each bank of cylinders on the same firing pattern will feed into each turbo.

A minor advantage of the twin-scroll vs twin turbo is the amount of oil caught up in the turbos. As the sump distributes oil to the engine as well as turbos, by having one larger turbo results in (marginally) less oil in the turbochargers, resulting in reduced oil temperatures.

 

Forged vs Cast Iron Internals

From factory the N54 has a forged crankshaft and connecting rods, and cast iron pistons. The N55 used cast iron crankshaft, rods and pistons. Both internals are durable and can take plenty of abuse from the factory. Unless you’re looking to push a lot of PSI through either of these engines, the stock internals will hold up fine.

On paper the forged internals are stronger, and therefore can take more abuse. This would mean you have more potential to add power without worrying about core engine components, and can spend money elsewhere.

Interestingly the N55 crankshaft weighs 20.3KG, approximately 3KG less than the crankshaft in the N54 engine.

 

Piezoelectric vs Solenoid Injectors

Piezoelectric injectors were featured in the N54 which were replaced by traditional solenoid injectors when the N55 was released. Many owners reported problems with the piezoelectric injectors, from reliability to carbon build up due to their design.

The injectors are piezoelectric, compared to the improved N55 design of solenoid injectors. Solenoid injectors which are found in most vehicles are more reliable, however their downside is less precision and response time. This becomes a bottleneck when running higher boost and more fuel to achieve increased WHP.

Bosch state piezoelectric injectors can react up to 5 times faster than solenoid injectors. This translates into precise injection of fuel, and enables multiple injections within a single combustion.

The piezoelectric injectors have been an issue compared to solenoid injectors due to unreliability, more noise and higher expense when they need to be replaced.

 

Crankcase Ventilation

With any engine a crankcase breather or PCV system is necessary. This system is put in place to ventilate blow-by gases and oil vapour which are a by-product of combustion. The system will route these gases into the intake tract in an effort to improve emissions.

Due to the upgraded design introduced in the N55, less carbon build up within the intake manifold occurs within the same time period. It’s not uncommon for N54 engines to require walnut shell blasting to remove the build up around 50k miles. Compared to the N55’s design which has a much longer life, with some owners still running on original components (with no symptoms of failure) at 100k miles!

 

Exhaust

The N54 has two main catalytic converters immediately after the tubos, with two smaller catalytic converters in the mid-section of the exhaust. The N55 uses one larger catalytic converter immediately after the turbocharger with no secondary catalytic converters.

Both engines are equipped with a resonator at the end of the dual pipes, and have slight variations of muffler design. In the N54’s muffler, the Y pipe is perforated resulting in the exhaust flap having a minor change to the exhaust note. The N55’s exhaust pipe is solid which means the exhaust flap has a larger effect on the exhaust note.

Subject to opinion the N55 sounds more aggressive and raw from stock, partly helped by the fewer catalytic converters to muffle sound and solid Y pipe in the muffler. Here is a great video that demonstrates the difference:

Tuning Potential

Twin vs Single Twin-Scroll

The earlier N54 responds better to tuning, due to its twin turbocharged design which moves more air and does so more efficiently. From factory both engines produce the same power, with the N54’s advantage to add more power comes from the twin turbo setup. For example a simple tune can add up to 100hp (Think JB4, COBB, Dinan) to the N54, but the N55 gains are a little less at 60hp on a stock motor.

A key difference between both engines is the turbochargers attached. The N54 uses a twin turbocharged design, whereas the N55 uses a single twin-scroll turbocharger. The twin-scroll is able to produce peak torque 100RPM sooner, but doesn’t have the tuneability the twin turbocharged design offers. Despite the lack of horsepower gains the N55 boasts reliability, as it’s an improved version over its predecessor.

 

Downpipes

Both engines with the addition of a catless or better flowing downpipe will see performance gains, especially if paired with a tune increasing boost pressure from turbos. The drop in air pressure pre and post turbo aids in the turbocharger spool. A common misconception is a slight backpressure is best for turbocharged engines, where in reality the best flowing exhaust is better suited.

By eliminating the backpressure created by the catalytic converter you reduce the backpressure, enabling the turbos to spool faster. Your exhaust note will also be more aggressive, whether you like this is down to personal taste.

On the N54 engines expect to see 15-20WHP gains, compared to around 5 on the N55 due to higher flowing catalytic converters from stock.

Also remember your car will most likely not pass emissions test, and will throw a Check Engine Light. If you plan to perform this modification it’s best to abide by your areas emissions testing.

 

Intake

Another restrictive section of the engine are the intakes. Easy to install and generally a good HP vs $ gain in terms of power, depending on the intake purchased. Most commonly fitted to the N54 platform is a dual code intake, however this can cause heat soak as air is drawn from inside the engine bay where the air is a higher temperature.

It’s best to choose a sealed intake that draws cold air only, as heat soak from the engine bay will have a detrimental impact to performance as the air is less dense.

Assuming the intake is restricting power gains, expect 15-20WHP on the N54 platform, and 10-15WHP on the N55 platform. This can vary depending on which intake is fitted, and whether your engine can utilise the increased flow of air.

 

Intercooler

The downside of the stock intake systems is heat produced by turbochargers affecting air intake temperatures.  As the air intake temperature heats up from spirited driving, the DME will pull timing and boost due to the air being less dense.

To remedy this an intercooler will cool the hot air after leaving the turbocharger, resulting in consistent performance and a small gain. You will notice after a few WOT pulls that the car doesn’t feel as aggressive, and your butt dyno isn’t wrong. This is exaggerated if you run a tune that increases boost.

A larger intercooler has more surface area, therefore increasing the amount of air that can be cooled simultaneously. As colder air is denser you will have HP gains.

As with the intake, HP gains can vary depending on size of intercooler and ambient air temperature at the time of testing. On the N54 platform you can expect around 5-10WHP which is the same as the N55. The biggest advantage of an intercooler is consistent performance despite increased engine temperatures from hard driving.

 

Tune

Due to the turbochargers attached to these engines make them a viable platform for tuning. There are many different options for both platforms, each with their own advantages, disadvantages and gains.

On the N54 platform you have several options, JB4 being a common addon which we will use as a comparison on the N55 platform. The tune is a piggyback on the ECU’s base map, making it easy to turn on and off. It also has 9 maps, progressing in performance gained.

Running on high octane fuel you can expect around 30WHP using the JB4 tune with an N54 stock engine. This is assuming map 1 is used on a stock car. Compare this to a similar 30WHP gain on the N55 platform on a stock engine.

The advantages of the JB4 platform is the multiple maps supplied. As you upgrade your car to handle more boost, you can choose a more aggressive map to reap larger gains.

It’s also important to note that these tunes may supply more or less gains depending on the condition of your car, ambient air temp, fuel used…etc, and should be used as a guide only.

 

Reliability

There were many teething problems with the N54, many of which had generous warranties to remedy these issues. However the N55 is the redesigned engine based on the N54’s failures, therefore having less issues from the start.

 

High Pressure Fuel Pump

The HPFP was the most common problem found with the N54. The pump provides injectors with the fuel needed for combustion, failure of the pump results in a non-start. Despite this large issue BMW have issued a 10 year/120k mile warranty on the pump, if you’re on the market this is a must as the warranty may be near expiration.

Symptoms of HPFP Failure

Sometimes you can experience symptoms before the pump completely fails, some of which are commonly thrown codes:

  • P142E: low pressure in HPFP system – injection disables to protect catalytic converters
  • 2FBF: Fuel pressure at injection release
  • 2FBE: Fuel pressure after motor stop
  • 29DC: Cylinder injection switch off
  • 29E2: Fuel injection rail
  • P030(1-6): cylinder misfire (last digit of code is the cylinder responsible)

Or you may experience:

  • Long crank times when attempting to start the car
  • Check Engine Light (Will refer to one of the above codes)
  • Car will enter limp mode with reduced power, rev range and top speed to protect engine internals

If you have an original fuel pump it’s a good idea to get it changed. Interestingly there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between tuning your car and failed pumps, which points to a design/manufacturing fault.

If you’re out of your warranty period with a failed pump, you can find a fantastic DIY detailing the process here(http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=654820). Expect the spare part to cost around $400 not including installation, and is a fairly advanced DIY.

 

Injectors

Another problem is the N54 fuel injectors. Paired with fuel pump issues it’s not surprising that the injectors are next on the list. The purpose of fuel injectors is to produce a fine and controlled spray of fuel over the spark plugs and ignition coils ready to be combusted on an ignition stroke of the engine.

Clogged Injectors

As carbon naturally builds up within the engine as part of the combustion process, injectors are also prone to carbon buildup. Normally carbon is burned off due to the high temperatures within the combustion chamber, however when the engine cools it can cause excess buildup. The issue with this is it effects the spray pattern of the injectors, causing either too much or too little fuel contacting the spark plug, resulting in cold start issues or misfires.

Leaking Injectors

Leaking injectors is another issue with the N54, the angle of the injectors means any leaks will drip onto the spark plug. If there is a considerable leak this will soak the plugs inhibiting a normal spark needed to ignite the unburnt fuel. This will also produce misfires or difficulty starting the car.

 

Turbocharger Failure/Wastegate Rattle

The wastegates job is to regulate the flow of exhaust gases away from the turbochargers, this then controls how fast the turbos spool and therefore generate boost pressure. In simpler terms the wastegate controls the maximum boost pressure created by the turbos, to prevent overboosting and running your engines internals.

The common rattle is actually the wastegate actuator arm and rod improperly functioning, due to wear and tear from normal use. There is a recall available which covers the turbos for up to 10 years or 82,000 miles, and is recommended to be completed because the whole procedure takes around 15 hours, with the turbochargers costing upwards of $1,000.

 

Chargepipe Leak

If your car is fully stock it’s fairly unlikely you will run into this problem. When you introduce tunes which increase the amount of boost produced by the turbos, the chargepipe is one of the first components to break.

The function of the chargepipe is to hold boost until it’s released by the blowoff valve. As this is a plastic component it becomes brittle especially when running increased boost over stock. The increased pressure can cause cracks which leak air, or complete burst of the pipe.

If you’re running a methanol/ethanol setup an upgraded chargepipe is a mandatory upgrade. If you spend any time on forums you will dig up many posts of users chargepipes bursting while driving.

 

Valve Cover Leak

Another issue is a valve cover gasket leak, prone to degrading which results in oil leaks down the side of your engine block and lean running condition.

It’s also common for heat cycling of the engine to cause cracks in the gasket, which also result in oil leaks and a loss of vacuum within the crankcase.

You may also smell the burning oil, lose a lot more oil than expected (resulting in frequent top ups, or a low oil light). Your spark plugs can also be sitting in a pool of oil depending where the degradation has occurred.

Replacing this gasket on its own is around $35, or $450 for the cover and gasket. If you don’t want to attempt this yourself you will need to add labour on top, it’s not an extremely difficult DIY but certainly not recommended for a novice.

 

 

How to Remove Gum From a Car

By | Automotive Detailing

Chewing gum can be a nightmare to remove, especially from the pristine interior of your car. Here’s a few tips I’ve used to successfully remove gum from a variety of materials, without causing damage or lasting stains.

How to Get Gum off of a Car Seat

Leather

Care needs to be taken when dealing with leather, as it’s a soft material susceptible to staining and discolouration from cleaning products. It’s important to test all methods in our article on a hidden section of the leather, just in case any discolouration or change in appearance occurs.

Dish Soap

  1. Firstly scrape off as much of the chewing gum as possible, using a plastic scraper or a credit card. A metal blade may cut the material, for this reason we recommend not using a metal blade.
  2. Mix dish soap and water together, using enough dish soap to create a lot of suds.
  3. Using this mixture, soak for a few minutes.
  4. Using a lint free towel, dampen slightly then proceed to wipe away. It should wipe away easily, without leaving residue.

Peanut Butter

The oily properties of peanut butter allow the gum to become less sticky, making removal much easier without the mess. For this to work ensure you’re using creamy peanut butter.

Before proceeding, attempt to scrape away as much material as you can. This is so the oils in the peanut butter can penetrate all the way to the base, making removal much less messier!

Some peanut butter will stain leather or leave lasting marks – test on a section of your seat that won’t be seen just to be sure!

  1. Firstly cover the area completely with the peanut butter, either using your fingers or an old toothbrush.
  2. Wait a few minutes for the oils to get to work, therefore soaking into the gum. Try to avoid covering the leather if possible.
  3. Using a damp towel, wipe away the peanut butter. It should be easy to wipe away, but if there are any remnants, applying saddle soap and rubbing in a circular motion will remove the leftover deposits.

Aftercare

After successful removal from your leather upholstery, I strongly recommend using leather conditioner to ensure the material remains supple and prevents staining.

 

Cloth

Preventing the staining from working further into the fabric when dealing with cloth is crucial – the last situation you want to be in is pushing stains further into the fabric. Fortunately our tips below make removal a breeze, and can be easily found around the house.

Freezing

Taking a few ices cubes, putting them in a bag then freezing the area is a mess free way to remove gum from cloth seats. This method also prevents you from pushing any stains further into the cloth, providing you freeze the area fully.

  1. Start by putting a couple of ice cubes in a plastic bag, then pressing on the affected area.
  2. Ensure you fully freeze the area by applying ice for several minutes.
  3. Once frozen, use a plastic scraper or a credit card to remove the gum. If completely frozen it will remove from the cloth without leaving any residue. If remnants remain, simply re-freeze the area and scrape it again.

White Vinegar

A great multi-purpose cleaner, and readily available – perfect for some DIY gum removal! The vinegar will break down the synthetic rubber, reducing stickiness for an easy cleanup.

  1. Scrape as much of the residue as you can, using a plastic scraper or a credit card.
  2. Dip an old toothbrush into the white vinegar – without diluting.
  3. Rub in circular motions on and around the stain, and leave the vinegar to settle.
  4. Begin to scrape again with a credit card, it will come off in one large lump if the vinegar had enough time to work its magic.

WD-40

Any household penetrating oil will work – ensure it won’t stain the cloth and isn’t naturally dyed.

  1. To begin, soak the affected area trying not to cover the fabric too much.
  2. Leave it to settle for a minute or two – not long enough for the penetrating oil to dry up.
  3. Wipe away with a paper towel. It’s really that easy!

 

Suede

Ethyl Alcohol

Alcantara which is used in cars interior (commonly referred to as suede) is a soft and durable alternative to natural suede. Unfortunately moisture, and more importantly staining can become difficult to remove.

Ethyl Alcohol and Ice will remove the stains without damaging the alcantara interior.

  1. Put a plastic bag of ice over the stain, and wait until the material has become fully frozen.
  2. Remove the pieces carefully with a plastic scraper or credit card. Be extremely careful to not damage the alcantara, as it’s a soft material.
  3. Treat the area with ethyl alcohol, and use a dry microfiber towel to blot dry.

Staining

If any staining has occurred, it’s better to remove it sooner rather than later. Read our full guide on cleaning car seats.

 

How to Get Gum off of Car Paint

Removing any sticky substances from car paint can be tricky, as you don’t want to risk scratching your gleaming bodywork. Below are a few methods that have worked perfectly, and are easily found around the house.

Bug and Tar Remover

Effective at removing many different contaminants that find their way onto your vehicles paint, it’s also perfect for removing chewing gum.

  1. Spray the staining with bug and tar remover, ensuring the area around the gum is fully covered.
  2. Allow the solution to soak for a few minutes.
  3. Gently scrape the base with a plastic scraper, or a credit card.

It helps to spray as you work under the stuck on gum, as it will lubricate the surface between the scraper and paint.

Don’t use a metal scraper! This will damage your vehicles paint.

 

Can of compressed air

Gum becomes brittle when frozen, reducing its sticky properties. Therefore makes for a mess-free removal, perfect for car paint.

This method works best for a clump, it’s not so effective when it’s spread out and become streaky.

  1. To get started, turn a can of compressed air upside down, and begin spraying the gum directly.
  2. Keep spraying until it becomes visibly frozen.
  3. You can now begin scraping with a plastic scraper, it will break off into chunks cleanly from the cars paint.

If the area begins to thaw, you can always re-apply compressed air.

 

Peanut butter

Another great alternative is using peanut butter. The oils in the peanut butter reduce the stickiness allowing for clean removal.

  1. First start by applying a thick layer of creamy peanut butter to the gum.
  2. Leave the peanut butter for around 10 minutes, the longer you leave it the further the oils can penetrate and work their magic.
  3. Using a damp lint-free towel, rub the affected area which will remove all staining cleanly.

 

If there is remnants, re-apply some peanut butter and leave for another 10 minutes. Sometimes the oil in the peanut butter can’t work in deep enough to be effective the first time.

 

Remove Gum from Seat Belt

Seatbelts are webbed to provide strength, ensuring your safety. However not ideal if the chewing gum manages to work its way into the weave of the seatbelt. Follow our tips below to avoid pushing any staining further into the webbing:

Ice

Freezing gum to remove it cleanly can work on multiple materials, seatbelts included. To get started:

  1. Get a can of compressed air, turn upside down and spray directly onto the suck on gum.
  2. Keep spraying until it’s visibly frozen.
  3. Try and pick off using your fingers, or a plastic scraper.

Sometimes there will be some residue left over, you can keep freezing the area until all residue is removed.

 

How to Remove Gum from Carpet in Car

Like most staining it’s crucial to remove it from carpet as soon as possible. The longer the gum remains on the carpet, the likelihood of being worked deeper into the pile increases.

Hair Dryer

As soon as you discover the staining, using your hair dryer makes removal simple. Perfect if you’re caught in a pinch and don’t have other tools used in this guide.

  1. Turn the hair dryer up to full heat, and aim directly on the stain.
  2. Watch carefully, as you want to heat up the gum without melting it further into the carpet pile.
  3. Once you see it beginning to melt, grab a plastic bag and begin to pick it up off the carpet.
  4. Continue until the stain disappears – remember to be cautious not to use too much heat.