2002 e46 318ci N42 exhaust camshaft position sensor location

I’ve had problems with my 2002 e46 318ci with the 2.0 N42 engine idling badly and then cutting out. After some reading up on Bimmerforums.co.uk it sounded like the cam sensor was faulty. The car started smelling of oil around the same time so before taking it to get any fault codes read I had the covers off the engine to see what was going on.

It seemed like the oil filler cap wasn’t sealing properly, and because of that oil was leaking down the engine and covering the exhaust camshaft position sensor. Oil was also burning off on the exhaust manifold. The plug on the sensor was fiddly to get off as one of the clips holding it on is pushed up against the engine block. I ended up pressing both clips down and prising it off with a screwdriver. It would have been easier to have just undone the single hex bolt attaching the sensor to the engine and then unclipped the plug from the sensor.

The sensor plug was gunked up with oil and so was the sensor itself, so I cleaned them both up and put it all back together. It now idles smoothly and doesn’t cut out.

It was a fairly easy job, so if you get your fault codes read and it’s either of the cam sensors you can probably replace them yourself in half an hour.


Slammed 1990s Mercedes (Bugeye) E-Class

Spotted this locally a while back and had a quick chat with the owner – it’s on cut springs 😀

slammed mercedes e class

Watch out for caching on one.com servers

I’ve been working on some client sites hosted on one.com recently and hit a frustrating issue. Whatever changes I made to the CSS or PHP files, nothing changed on the live site. After much checking of account details, FTP logins and that I was actually working on the right site (yes that has happened before!) I hit Google to see if anyone else was having the same problems.

The Good News

It turns out One.com cache files and it can last up to 30 minutes. While that’s great for speed and keeping server load down once sites are live, developing often involves lots of little changes that need to be seen straight away, such as CSS tweaks. The good news is that the caching can be disabled per site on request, and getting in touch with One.com live chat had things sorted out quickly for me.

BMW Paint Correction by Eden Detail

Paul from Eden Detail recently came over to give my BMW a good scrubbing and correct my paint. I’ll let the pics do the talking! I can’t believe how well the second hand MV1 alloys came up, and the paint is now swirl free. Products used were:

  • Purple Rain 2.0 – Alloys
  • Very Cherry Alloy Wheel Cleaner – Alloys
  • Magifoam – Prewash
  • Banana Gloss – Shampoo
  • Fine Clay – Clay Bar
  • Berry Blast Quick Detailer – Clay Lubricant
  • Enrich – Polishing
  • Nano Seal – Sealant
  • Black Magic – Wax
  • Trim & Tyre Gel – Tyres
  • Pink Sheen – Dashboard
  • Hellshine Pain – Windows

purple rain 2 on bmw mv1 alloys
Purple Rain 2 doing its thing…

bmw e46 paint correction

bmw e46 paint correction
It rained a couple of days later, resulting in some lovely beading

The Curse of User Generated Content

‘User Generated Content’. A lovely phrase dreamed up by marketing people getting all excited about their website visitors creating fresh new content. This golden content would then propel them to the heights of Google with almost no effort required by them. ‘Building a community’. The Holy Grail of internet marketing.

Not so fast.

While this is a great idea on the surface, the reality is very different. Problems include moderation overhead, spammers and other people out to profit, the clueless and the malicious.

Moderation Overhead

With a site getting any kind of comment volume, be prepared to spend hours of your life deleting spam, stupid comments and other nonsense. WordPress has Akisment, but other CMS’ don’t necessarily have that kind of spam trap. This is another liability on top of the regular software updates and creating decent content for your site, so think carefully.

Spammers and other sociopaths

Any kind of comment form or forum attracts spammers and other sociopathic individuals who think that their product or service is so important you should stop what you are doing and listen to their pitch. A classic form of interruption marketing, third world countries will batter your comment and enquiry forms pedding their wares with laughable offers and terrible grammar.

They often follow up asking why you haven’t responded, cranking up the annoyance factor. Whether automated or manually sent, spam is a tide of crap just waiting to flood your site.

The Clueless

See that link that says “CONTACT US”? No? Why not use a comment form on a blog article to contact us then! Seriously, this happens to my clients a lot. Asking how much something is or some other snippy, vague or ‘best-done-over-email’ question does not belong in the comments section.

The Malicious

As well as people just not understanding how to use their computer/the web/their brains, any short and anonymous ways of contacting people encourage abrupt, ill considered or inflammatory communication. Whether it’s a Facebook wall, text message or comment form, arguments are literally a click away. There is something Psychological about not having to say things to someone’s face that encourages bad behaviour.

It could be cheeky trolling or outright flaming, but a clash of ignorant and emotional messages in a comment section does nobody any favours and just leaves a mess for the website admin to clear up.  Certainty seems inversely related to accuracy or relevance, so the only people talking are those looking for a fight or who like the sound of their own voice.

So Where To From Here?

I’d pretty sure we would all like to spend our time reading positive, worthwhile and considered things instead of sifting through user generated nonsense. Bearing in mind most people have very little to say that is important, positive or noteworthy (me included), maybe we should just not give people the chance to contribute. There are some Psychological techniques that can help.

At the very least, a strict moderation policy is needed. Weighing the possible business benefits of ‘engaging a community in conversation’ against the time needed and soul destroying nature of the job, it might be better to just focus on business and leave the grunting horde safely outside the gates.