Added the magnetic Nato Smart Mount to the BMW X5 35d

| February 14, 2017

A couple gifts I gave this past Christmas were magnetic Nato Smart Mounts for holding smartphones or even tablets in a car. After buying a first one for our Honda Odyssey minivan as a promo and liking it, I added several more to the next order as gifts. The final one I kept for my […]

AGM Automotive Batteries and what one can learn on hold

| February 11, 2017

The BMW X5 35d has been having issues starting when cold which seems likely due to a new Exide FP-AGML5/49 Edge Group L-5/49 Flat Plate AGM battery. I’ve gone great lengths to rule out almost everything other than the battery, and decided it must be a weak cell or defect in the new battery itself. […]

Testing your car battery with only a simple voltage meter

| February 10, 2017

Great how-to YouTube video from ChrisFix on testing your car battery with a simple voltage meter.

TechFriday or maybe Tesla Friday as production shuts down

| February 10, 2017

This was going to be a normal Tech Friday post, but instead it will marry the automotive technology leader Tesla with a bit of news on their higher-volume / lower priced Model 3 sedan due out this summer. The company stated that all was on schedule for meeting their targeted July production date and they […]

Hey Rich, how comfortable will you be in that new little Elio?

| February 9, 2017

My answer to "how comfortable?" – is that "I don’t really know"… because I haven’t been in one yet. But, I suspect after flying small airplanes like the Cessna 152 that someone who is 6’1" and 195 lbs like me should be "ok" for all but the longest trips. Here’s what the Elio blog has […]

Who knows, there may still be a Range Rover in my future

| January 23, 2017

Great visual look at the evolution from 1969 thru 2017. The first SUV to wear the vaunted “Range Rover” badge came in 1969 with the development of 26 individual prototype vehicles. Each “Velar” prototype wore special badging ahead of the production debut. The first Range Rover to trundle across craggy landscapes arrived in 1970, claiming […]

The Elio Motors confusing reservation structure

| January 16, 2017

The Elio came up in a discussion and the question came up, "how much will it really cost?" That’s when I realized just how confusing the low price point could be. Gone is the much marketed $6800 car as the current reservation price is $7300 … at least for about 1000 more orders. There is […]

U.S. approves first fix for 70,000 Volkswagen TDI diesels

| January 6, 2017

After the initial wave of buybacks, phase 2 will be to fix the 2015 diesel Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat and 2015 diesel Audi A3 by updating software and adding a diesel particulate filter, diesel oxidation catalyst and NOx catalyst. VW will now be able to resell diesel vehicles that they repurchased once […]

Diesels are not Done

| January 1, 2017

Much has been made of the death of diesel after the VW cheating scandal … but there is still room for debate and a need for diesel vehicles – innovation benefits diesel as well as EVs. Electricity has potential in passenger vehicles, but in its current state of innovation, it falls short to the Diesel […]

Disgruntled Volkswagen TDI owner not happy with buyback

| December 21, 2016

Now that Volkswagen TDI owners have to accept the performance debilitating modification or return in their diesel cars in for compensation as the settlement enters the "compensation phase." Some have been stripping parts off their cars prior to turning them in. Joe Mayer, in Cincinnati has take that a step further … and stripped "the […]

VW to Fix or Buy Back 80,000 Emissions-Cheating 3.0-L TDIs

| December 20, 2016

The vehicles affected include the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, and Porsche Cayenne Diesel.

Getting a straw stuck up your nose can be painful …

| December 2, 2016

I’ve heard of getting a straw stuck up your nose … but this is ridiculous.

Even Brad Paisley owned a 1984 Chevrolet Cavalier

| November 27, 2016

Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC is one of the automotive programs I record and one my dad would have enjoyed watching with me … too bad it is just a couple years late. Anyway, last week he had musicians who love cars on the program and country music star Brad Paisley shared his first car […]

A second temporary BMW 528i upper radiator hose repair

| November 8, 2016

Besides being distracted on Tuesday watching the general election news, a call from my son Taylor brought me back to reality. I scrapped my afternoon plans and drove down to Clermont County where he works to "try a second time" to make a temporary repair (the first one was Sunday night). There is a ridiculously […]

Our 1982 Mercedes diesel can see (in fog) again …

| October 24, 2016

As mentioned a few posts ago, I finally found an amber fog light on ebay to replace the broken glass lens. I was disappointed in the cost, but very pleased with the quality of the lightly used Bosch part. Forgive the bug splats (needs to be cleaned) but when the weather is nice, this 1982 […]

Changing a cabin air filter in an older Honda Odyssey minivan

| October 22, 2016

My daughter took her "leased" Juke into the Nissan dealership in Minnesota for a $25 oil change and while it was in the service bay, the service department recommended she do a few additional maintenance items totaling $1200 … "but we can do it all today for a flat $1000" (don’t you just love it […]

An old amber fog light for a Mercedes diesel is not inexpensive

| October 15, 2016

Ouch … the amber fog light in our 1982 Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel shatter a couple weeks ago and I’ve been searching to find a Bosch replacement ever since. While looking on ebay, I was surprised not to be able to find a decent one for under $35 … that is a lot to spend […]

Transmission cooler hose? Once again, AAA pays for itself!

| September 29, 2016

While coming home from work at 9:30PM Tuesday night, Brenda called and said something didn’t feel right about our 2006 Honda Pilot. No unusual warning lights besides the "wrench" indicating we were due for an oil change, but the RPM were revving high. I stayed on the phone until she turn down our street and […]

Follow up video from Mr Godwrench and The Happy Church

| September 28, 2016

Thanks Tim for sending me the video from the Mr. Godwrench service day in Jackson, Kentucky (last week’s post). It was great to see the good times and teaching moments … both "hands-on" car maintenance and emulating what it is to have a Christian heart … and I’m sure it felt good for the givers […]

How much room do you leave between vehicles?

| September 25, 2016

A photo is worth a 1000 words — and this photo is a chilling reminder for those of us who travel regularly on the interstates. I purposely allow for more buffer than many when following a line of traffic (a car length for every 10 mph) AND in particular give semi-trucks even more breathing room. […]

Tim Ellison, a Christian entrepreneur that Walks the Talk

| September 24, 2016

We are humbled to call Tim Ellison of Mr. Godwrench our friend. A few years ago when he started his automotive repair business I knew his unabashed and outspoken Christian "modus vivendi" was attractive to me, so I quickly promoted his automotive services and did as much business with him as I could. Due to […]

Other European Diesels of Polluting More Than VW TDIs?

| September 23, 2016

Volkswagen isn’t the only automaker skirting diesel emissions laws—many automakers build cars even dirtier than VW. Source: Study Accuses Other European Diesels of Polluting More Than VW TDIs A study concludes that Volkswagen TDI diesel are among the cleanest of all the European brands. That could be the reason the Paris Auto Show are showing […]

The old Mercedes is out and about and starting a boat project

| September 18, 2016

After sitting quietly most of the summer, my friend Jeff needed to borrow a set of wheels for a week. He has intimately name the 1982 MB diesel the "old girl" and seems to appreciate her many quirks. Since it isn’t covered, there was a little dust, but she still looks pretty good to me. […]

Fuel economy on the BMW X5 35d diesel after modifications

| September 9, 2016

For those following the modifications and upgrades on our 2010 BMW X5 35d for most of 2016, below are the resulting fuel economy improvements, at least so far. This 5225 lb SUV (minus a few pounds) will never be a Volkswagen TDI fuel sipper, but I’ll take a 15% mpg improvement considering it also has […]

Many Volkswagen TDI Diesel Models May Never Return

| September 3, 2016

A sad day for those of us who appreciated the efficiency and longevity of a small VW TDI diesel. 🙁 Volkswagen won’t try to revive its position as a leader in diesel-engine technology in North America, says the recently appointed head of the company’s operations. The technology needed to bring the engines into compliance, along […]

Our 2010 BMW X5 35d clicked odometer to 150,000 miles

| August 27, 2016

On my drive home this week, our 2010 BMW X5 35d modified diesel rolled the odometer passed 150K (I know, they don’t roll like my old Mercedes anymore). Economy is not quite up to the 30 mpg highway that I have been hoping for, but I’m not complaining about 28 mpg "with an impressive power" […]

WSJ highlights a 1956 Packard Executive fit for a wedding

| August 24, 2016

The weekly "My Ride" article by A. J. Baime in the Wall Street Journal has become a sentimental favorite column as besides highlighting a Mercedes a couple weeks ago, did the same for a Packard this week. The story plots are almost always as unique as the  cars themselves … although this one touches a […]

My eyes are open for an Approved Packard Service sign

| August 17, 2016

A friend of mine, an automotive journalist, snapped this photo on his way across the country on Route 66 last week and I couldn’t help but crop and copy it for my blog – (above – thanks Wayne, not that you know I’m using your photo).  Although my garage shop is not quite ready for […]

The complex but impressive 3 compressor Audi TDI diesel

| August 16, 2016

Audi’s 2017 SQ7 diesel TDI takes a new spin on hybrid vehicles by incorporating an electric compressor in addition to the already impressive 2 compressors (turbochargers). I’m not sure at what point technology goes too far in adding complexity but improving performance, but this is one impressive TDI! (link and video illustration below)

Our BMW X5 35d loves cheap diesel fuel ;-)

| August 14, 2016

First let me qualify, this is the discounted United Dairy Farmers (UDF – Mobil) price for diesel … but I’m not complaining about $2.14 either (current Aug 2016 price). It isn’t like we need an excuse to buy milkshakes, but their summer promotion in discounts fuel is the little push I need to bring home […]

How To: Cleaning silicone sealant from a car window

| August 1, 2016

What a pain! Silicone all over the side of my Honda Odyssey. Have you have ever had to remove silicone sealant from a surface? It is not fun. Thankfully the majority of what was purposely or accidentally (hmm?) drizzled or wiped all over my minivan this past year in Florida was on the side windows. […]

Cars are breaking down at record rates

| July 25, 2016

Despite advances in automotive technology, roadside service calls to AAA were higher than ever last year. The causes were often new tech and new design. Drilling down a bit, AAA points to tires and keys above all else. The organization stated that cars less than five years old were responsible for a disproportionate number of […]

The Acoustic Function that lead to the VW emissions scandal

| July 23, 2016

The development of Volkswagen’s emission defeating device may have initially had the best of intentions, according to Road and Track. It started with engineers in 1999 who were working to quiet the diesel clatter on an Audi V-6 engine. They were  using "Pilot Injection" to inject an additional amount of fuel to a cylinder when […]

And you thought Airstream trailers had a classic style?

| July 14, 2016

For Volkswagen fanatics who like travel and camping, there aren’t many better ways to show  your VW love than a Dub-Box Trailer. These lightweight trailers are unique and beckon back to day when the roads were open and free … so as long as you have a few bucks for gas and were not in a […]

Found an authentic Hawk emblem for the Packard

| July 12, 2016

A week or so ago I posted a "to do" list item that I really should helped my dad with when he asked. He loved all old cars and in particular showing his off. I remember him asking if the Internet could be used to help search for  a missing a trunk emblem for his […]

The 2010 BMW X5 35d is finally ready to be my daily driver

| July 11, 2016

Spent a few hours under our 2010 BMW X5 35d this weekend to finish up the rust treatment and before reinstalling the shields and skidplate. The procedure was the same as I used on the old Mercedes 300D Turbodiesel, Skyco’s Oxypho, except the BMW only has a little light rust on the frame. I’m really […]

The engine bay of our BMW X5 35d has been put back together

| July 5, 2016

As mentioned on Saturday, the project over the July 4th holiday was to put the new plastic parts shielding the engine bay from the cabin air and water drains back under the hood of our 2010 BMW X5 35d. I’m not sure it quiets the diesel engine all that much, but should be an improvement […]

How much OEM BMW plastic can you buy for $200?

| July 3, 2016

Plastic is not cheap when it comes to engine compartment parts for our BMW X5 35d, although parts for most cars are all pretty expensive … but what other options are there? Since they just came in today (Saturday), I’m hoping to work one the car Sunday or Monday – we will see since Monday […]

Archive: Keeping my eyes open for a Packard emblem

| July 2, 2016

The 1958 Packard Hawk isn’t on the "to do" agenda for this summer, but when walking by it in the garage, it is difficult to not think about things that need to be done. One particular item I need to find is a gold "hawk" emblem just above the trunk lock mechanism (sort of like […]

Doggies in the Toyota window – Pre-4th of July

| June 29, 2016

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.