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Old 07-07-2019, 10:06 AM
DacidSalin DacidSalin is offline
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Location: Helena
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Question Intro - New owner of E53 with a bunch of little issues.

Hi all,

I'm an Audi owner but wanted something that was more capable offroad, since the lowered A4 S-Line tends to bottom out here on the back roads of Montana.

I drove this thing and it was smooth and stable in a nasty rutted farm road at 40MPH/65KPH. Body is in great shape. Interior is okay - not great.
Mechanically sound, just a few things wrong. I've gone through the first few pages of this forum and will continue to dig, but if anyone wishes to offer pointers for a first time BMW owner, I'd appreciate it.


To the issues -

I got this 2 days ago for $1100 under low Bluebook for a reason...this was used as a hotel - for mice. An old couple had this vehicle and it was parked out at their ranch for a while. Mice moved in. They had a suite under the amplifier, a shared bathroom under the dash where it meets the floor at the firewall, a spa in the cabin air intake under the hood and their kitchen in the engine air intake box.

I tore everything out of the rear down to metal and wiring, vacuumed (wearing a mask - hantavirus is nasty stuff) and scrubbed with bleach water. Washed down the carpeted panels I had removed. I've got a rented ozone generator running overnight for 2 nights in a row. I took it out yesterday after the first night of treatment and the smell is much diminished. Part of that's been the removal of the fecal material and scrubbing.

I worry that there may be another nest inside the dash but haven't started to pull it apart as I don't have a manual just yet. After cleanup and air out, will see if it still smells, but the AC has a mouse piss stink to it that might be another home.


There is a brake squeak in reverse. Wondering if this is the parking brakes. Pulled a rear wheel off (had to use a sledge hammer and a block of wood against a rim - hit it almost 10x to get it to finally pop loose. Looked at the brake/hub assy. Looks like pulling the rotor/hub should be pretty easy as long as the rust isn't too horrible. Put it back together for now.


Parking brake does nothing. I haven't quite figured the path out for the cable. Could be the above brake squeak issue.


I bought it with a quarter tank of fuel. I filled it up and went for a drive. Now smell gasoline. Not really strong, but like a tiny leak somewhere. Wondering if there might be an issue with the canister system.


Hazard light switch does nothing. Is it supposed to depress like any regular button?


Air Bag light is lit. I use VAG-COM with my A4. Guessing there must be something for the BMW world that allows me to connect a USB to OBD II cable and have software that reads everything. Guess I can go to Local Parts Shop and borrow their scan tool for now. Hmm, wonder if this is related to the rattle in the steering wheel horn button...


Display on the stereo is missing pixels. Mostly readable - is this a common issue with these old units?


One key FOB. It looks like it's locksmith programmable so if I get one off sleeze bay, it should be okay. Right? Audi requires a dealer visit (there's one dealer in the state of Montana).


Best factory service manual? I have an AllDataDIY subscription for the A4, I might add the E53 to this as AllDataDIY is more thorough than the 2" thick manual I got for the car. Except electrical diagrams are a pita to locate online.


Front doors rattle. Sounds like the glass/regulator isn't secured in place. Sometimes rolling up the driver window it moves a fraction of an inch/few mm, then sticks. Open door, shut door, it pops up a bit and I press up again. Repeat 4/5 times then the window shuts just fine. I'm guessing there is some kind of common issue here.


Has a U-Haul hitch and trailer wiring adapter. They spliced into the taillight wiring using the blue splice/IDC connectors. I don't like them because it breaks the integrity of the PVC insulation on the wiring and I've seen them fail too many times when I did this decades ago. Now, if I'm cutting in, I cut, strip, solder, heat shrink. It looks like there is a factory adapter with factory hitch package. I'd consider replacing it with a factory one out of a boneyard. U-Haul hitch is rated at 6000/600 LBS, so more than sufficient for my needs. Thoughts or comments?


Looking for some load/cross bars for the roof rails. Did BMW make any factory ones (like Subaru does?) or do I just drop $500 on a pair of Yaks?


Looking for a jack tiedown strap. For Audi I'd go to wolf auto for boneyard parts (they only do VAG cars). I found some places that don't include X5. Is there such a place for X5s?


I played with the silly assist for the spare tire. Kind of cool way to lift a tire instead of all muscle, but there is some gate support bar that's missing.


The horn rattles. If I stick a finger tip between the wheel and the horn button, it stops, but it is pretty loud if not.


The trim rings on the door locks (the ones on the top of the door card) are missing on the front doors. Someone must have taken the door cards off at some point and lost them. Wonder where to find those.


I read @Crowz Seicane thread. I might just go with a Grom adapter for now
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d9-waBRt4k - unless I can find an aux in hack like I did on my B7 A4 Concert II (then I replaced the HU and have Wireless Android Auto and don't use it. :|


The badge on the hood is pretty much a black circle. Would like to replace it with something that looks better.


I know I went a little long - I do appreciate any input.
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