Our Cars | Steven’s E31 850Ci

It’s been a while since my last update on the 850 money pit as I’ve moved house and had another baby, or rather the wife had a baby. However, that’s not to say that the 850 has been neglected as I have managed to complete a few tasks…

I spent one evening finishing off the kick plate respray last week. There was a bit of splashing, which needed tidying up, but some alcohol wipes cleaned them right off and after being refitted they look rather smart and really accent the gold wheels. The casual observer probably wouldn’t even notice they were non-OEM, which in my opinion makes them even better.


Another small job I did was to swap out the electric window control panel on the driver’s door as the LEDs on mine had blown and the electric window adjustor had died. I found it for a bargain price on eBay and snapped it up within minutes of the advert being listed. Installation was a simple affair as it can simply be prized out with a couple of small screwdrivers. Unfortunately, while the unit does now illuminate, the driver’s side wing mirror still struggles to move, so I will need to source a new motor.


The final small job was to do with an aspect rarely discussed in project cars: the smell. The M70 is a dirty old lump and every time I used the fan in the cabin, the warm air had a distinct smell of engine. The solution to this is to simply replace the cabin filters, but as usual, finding the parts was problematic. E31 parts are hard to source and irritatingly expensive. If they’re E31-specific (i.e not shared with another model) they’re normally eye-bleedingly exorbitant, and the cabin filters are just that. I could only find one company in the UK that sold them (other than BMW) and they were almost £100 for a paper filter!



Eventually, I ordered some from the good ol’ US of A as, even after including the postage, they were still a lot cheaper. Fitting them was pretty simple too, they are located within the engine bay right at the back underneath a plastic cover. To gain access, I had to put the windscreen wipers on and stop them in their upright position, and then undo two small bolts to remove the panel. The filters can then be unclipped and swapped out.IMG_2187

The filters themselves were clearly long past their due date, as they were black and falling apart. Also, the cavity where the filters are housed was clogged up with all manner of flotsam and jetsam, so I cleaned the whole area up before slotting in the new ones and the net result is fresh smelling air coming from the heaters.

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