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Tag Archives: bmw

  • Vinyl Wrapping Old Interior Trim

    As vehicles age interior trim pieces can become faded, scratched and sometimes if they are coated, start to peel.  Over the past couple years a trend has been growing and a new way to transform that old interior has emerged.

    It utilizes a form of adhesive backed vinyl that becomes flexible when heated.  Major companies such as 3M have developed their own vinyl that is now known to be the go to product.  That being said there are other brands that offer a similar quality product at a cheaper price.  There are tons of color and texture options ranging from a simple matte black to purple carbon fiber.  If done correctly its hard to tell if the vinyl was even added, it looks that good.


    P1020574 copy



    This 2000 BMW E39 M5 came from the factory with silver brushed aluminum trim pieces but as youll see it needs an update.   After 15 years of use the trim has started to fade, become scratched, and in some spots peel up.


    P1020572 copy



    The vinyl I chose looks very similar to the original, it even has a texture which mimics the real thing.  If you didn't know already, which one is the original trim?


    Photo Oct 01, 10 58 10 AM

    To start the process I removed all of the trim pieces, it is possible to apply the wrap in the car but for an ideal finish they should be completely removed.  BMW M5 trim is very easy to remove but it will not be like this in every vehicle.  Before you start go online and look up the proper way to remove the trim for your specific car, it will save time and reduce the risk of something breaking.


    All of the pieces follow the same steps so I'll walk through the vinyl application on the center dash piece which surrounds the radio controls and center display.



    1. Clean the trim first using 400-600 Grit Sandpaper.  This will remove any dirt trapped on the surface.  Then spray a rag with PRE Painting Prep to remove any remaining contaminants.  Make sure to clean the edges and the under side of the piece because this is where the edge of the vinyl will stick.



    2. Lay the piece face down and cut out a piece of vinyl with about 1/2"-1" extra on all sides.  If the if the piece is rounded leave some extra material so it can wrap around the edges.

    3. Lay the vinyl on a clean table with the adhesive side up and carefully remove the backing.  Set your piece down on top of the vinyl on the flattest side.  Make sure the grain is going the correct direction and is square.



    4. After the flat side is pressed on lift the piece up and hold it in the air while trying to keep off of the adhesive side.  Use a Heat Gun on one edge at a time, get the edge hot and set the heat gun down, pull on the outer edge and form the vinyl around the outer curves.  Even after removing the heat the vinyl will stay soft for a few seconds, allowing you to pull it into place.



    To speed up the process I utilized the Eastwood Heat Gun's flat back plate with allows you to set it upright on a table while it is still on.  I could then use both of my hands to hold and form the vinyl.



    5.  After the the vinyl is formed around the outer edge, trim off the excess and repeat the same process on the back side.  Wrap the vinyl around the back, sticking it to the under side of the piece, doing this will prevent the vinyl from peeling up.



    6. To deal with the openings, run the Heat Gun along the edges of each while pressing downward.  Doing so will create a slight recess along the outside of the opening.



    7. Next cut an "X" in the center of each opening with a sharp razor blade leaving about 1/2" from each corner.  Heat and pull the center of each flap to form around the inner edges.  Trim and wrap around the back side like the earlier step.



    8. Repeat this with the other openings to create your finished product.



    With the rest of the trim completed it looks brand new and refreshed.  All this was done for about $20 worth of materials and the results pay for them self.

    Combine this with Eastwood Plastic Resurfacer and your interior will look as if it just rolled out of the factory.


    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

  • How To Clean BMW N54 Intake Ports and Valves with Walnut Shells

    Cleaning of intake valves with walnut shell blasting tool - review
    By: Mike Ngo and Eurowise

    Modern engines are often direct injection, as this process allows for advantages in fuel consumption as compared to conventional fuel injection, as well as yielding more power with an engine of identical displacement. The N54 engine of the BMW 335i and 135i also are direct injection; this means in particular that the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber of each cylinder and not in the intake tract. As a consequence thereof, the fuel injectors are no more placed before the intake valve, but directly in the cylinder itself.

    The disadvantage of this is that the regular bathing and therefor cleaning of the intake valves by way of the fuel that they are exposed to does not happen anymore. The intake valves are only in contact with air or rather blow by gases from the crankcase breathing circuit, in which substantial quantities of fuel and oil can be found. Over time, these lead to deposits of carbonized fuel and oil in the intake tract as well as on the intake valves themselves; this is also referred to as carbonizing. This is not immediately bad for the engine, but over time can have a detrimental effect on its efficiency. If the valves are heavily carbonized, they may not close properly anymore, and symptoms such as a bumpy idle, vibrations and diminished throttle response can be observed; it may also contribute to increased oil consumption.

    As unfortunately this carbonizing effect is an inevitable byproduct of direct injection, it cannot be prevented. The use of additives in the fuel itself is useless, as (see above) the fuel does not come into contact with the intake tract or the valves at all; the use of water/methanol injection may slow down the carbonizing somewhat (depending on where the methanol is injected and provided it is not yet completely vaporized when it reaches the valves), but cannot prevent it either. A cleaning of the intake valves by using Sea foam or similar products which are injected directly into the charge pipe has been discussed extensively, but in my opinion this method is not very efficient as the carbonizing is usually too persistent to be removed by this method.

    In principle there are a few methods to clean the intake valves and intake tracts of the BMW N54 engine (and any other direct injection engine). A very elaborate and consequently expensive method is to completely take off the cylinder head and to have the valves lie in a very aggressive cleaning solution for at least 48 hours, after which they have to be cleaned manually as well in order to remove any remaining carbonizing.

    The method I chose in the end and that I'm going to describe here is the cleaning of the intake tract and valve of each cylinder with the Eastwood Small Job Media Blasting Kit. We chose to have them mix up a small batch of walnut shell granules to blast the intake tract with. These granules hit the carbon at high speed and remove it entirely, while at the same time this material is soft enough not to damage the metal of the intake tract and the valves.

    Here are the basic steps to cleaning your intake ports and valves:

    1. Remove intake manifold
    2. Put engine valves on the cylinders being worked on at TDC so the valves are closed
    3. Tape off all the cylinders not being cleaned.
    4. Using a pick, break loose all the cylinders that have large chunks of carbon first and blow them out
    5. Prepare the Eastwood Small Job Blasting Kit and cover the engine bay of all walnuts that may go into items you don’t want them to go acess
    6. Start blasting
    7. After each cylinder blow or vacuum out the material left inside and repeat if necessary

  • Driverless Car Goes 300,000 Miles Without An Accident

    (Photo courtesy

    Google has been testing the technology of self-driving cars for a few years, actually going out on the roads of Nevada at speeds up to 70 MPH, and with no human intervention. And astonishingly, the fleet has zero accidents in the 300,000 miles the cars have driven. (Normally, correct grammar would require me to write "...the cars have been driven", but in this case, it's the cars themselves doing the driving!)

    You could sit in the passenger seat and relax...these cars feature sensors that can track pedestrians, understand traffic lights, and even merge at highway speeds.

    California governor Jerry Brown has signed state legislation that will pave the way for driverless cars, signing the bill after he travelled to Google headquarters in a self-driving Toyota Prius to show his full support for the new technology. The law will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate driverless vehicles on California’s roads.

    “Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality—the self-driving car,” Mr. Brown told journalists gathered to witness the historic moment for smart cars. “Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish, but they’ll get over it.”

    It's questionable whether people will get used to the idea of autonomous cars soon, but Google believes that it will take less than 10 years until the first self-driving vehicles will be available on the market. Car manufacturers such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Ford have been working on autonomous car technology for years.

    Read the entire article at

  • There's More to Hershey, Pennsylvania Than Chocolate Kisses

    Yes, this is a BMW...the 1957 BMW Isetta on display at Hershey. (Photo courtesy Jil McIntosh)
    Gas pumps from the 1920s, for sale at the Hershey AACA event. (Photo courtesy Jil McIntosh)

    But as a car enthusiast, you already knew that.

    The Antique Automobile Club of America's Eastern Division has their Fall Meet each October, and the town of Hershey has hosted the event each year since 1955. It's considered one of the largest antique automobile shows and flea markets in the United States, with about 1,500 cars on display.

    But there's more than just beautiful antique cars on display. There are quite a few uniquely unusual automobiles on display, and the associated flea market has antique and not-so-antique items for sale that would be appropriate decor for your garage or shop.

    Where else could you get a 1926 Rickenbacker hood ornament, a 1927 Clear Vision gas pump, or an Omaha taxi meter?

    In case you didn't make it to Hershey for this year's show, Jil McIntosh, writer for the Autos blog, was there, camera in hand. I think you'll enjoy the nostalgic trip through the flea market and show. The slide show starts when you click here.

  • More than just athletes on display at the London Olympics

    BMW art car jeff koons


    Walking around London during the Olympics, you'd expect to see all sorts of interesting people from every corner of the world (well, maybe not Antarctica; I don't think they have a track team this year).

    As an Eastwood customer, though, you're more into noticing all the different vehicles you might see during this international gathering. So you'd sprint right past the Men's 110m Hurdles venue and make a beeline to Shoreditch to enjoy the BMW collection of its 18 "Art Cars"—racing cars painted by famous artists.

    No, they didn't use Eastwood Concours spray guns (as far as I know!), nor did they use our Candeez paints, but it's still cool to see what a well-known artist can do with a racing car as a canvas! You may have heard of a few of these guys: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Caldor and more. (My favorite paint job is on the 2010 BMW M3 GT2, by Jeff Koons; see it above, and read about it here.)

    But if you just can't make it to London this year, you can see a photo gallery of the cars here.

    I guess you can watch the Men's 110m Hurdles on tape delay when you're done.

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