Newer cars are too complicated. What have I gotten myself into?

| April 16, 2016

What a mess of "tiny snakes" as my daughter call the the organized harnesses of wires connected to my cars ECU. I have to admit, I was taken back at the perception of a rats nest of connectors and wiring all tying into the BMW X5 35D’s computer. The air and water tight box under […]

My fair weather daily driver: 1982 Mercedes 300D Turbodiesel

| April 5, 2016

Love this car and the whole W123 thing!

BMW X5 35d weekend wrenching update

| April 4, 2016

In order to start working on the BMW X5 35d upgrades this weekend, I ordered a set of "star" sockets known as E-sockets. I picked up the larger set partially because I wanted the plastic storage box … and the Torx bits (already have "some") came with it — Amazon’s price with Prime shipping was […]

New downpipe and exhaust pieces arrived for the BMW X5 35D

| March 18, 2016

A few modified exhaust pieces needed to work on the BMW X5 35d arrived today from Canada. The welds look good, fitting for sensor "seem" to be in the right place and I’m hoping this expensive stainless steel will  last a long time. I’m opted for the version with the small catalytic converter to keep […]

Repairing the AC on the BMW X5 35d in the middle of winter

| February 10, 2016

My timing is probably not the best considering the temperature is in the teens this week, but since the BMW X5 35d is in the shop, I’m addressing as many “squawks” as possible. One of the known issues was that the air conditioning wasn’t working (paid less for the vehicle) … so after checking the […]

Keeping the old diesel running in the wintertime

| February 6, 2016

It has been surprisingly mild in Cincinnati for February that I decided to get the old girl out of the garage.  It wasn’t particularly warm last night when I got home, but the drier air and snow-free roads were excuse enough to drive the old Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel in the winter  … besides the other car was finally […]

First nasty winter drive of 2016 was not too bad

| January 14, 2016

This weeks trip back and forth from SW Ohio to NE Ohio was the first with slippery road and winter snow in 2016. There are sure to be a few more winter days this year, but glad to already be into mid-January. This drive was also the first winter driving for the BMW X5 35d. […]

Calculating the Costs to Society of the VW Scandal

| January 10, 2016

The U.S. Department of Justice lawyers on behalf of the EPA are probably sleeping and dreaming dollar signs … a still unknown number but calculations mentioned in the WSJ top $45 Billion. They have an opportunity to capitalize on Volkswagen’s willful disregard and purposeful installation of “defeat devices” on Volkswagen, Audi and Porche TDI diesel […]

When was the last time diesel fuel was $1.90/gal?

| December 17, 2015

I detoured to stop my dad’s house in Sidney Ohio on my way back from NE Ohio on Thursday night while driving the ’82 Mercedes 300D Turbodiesel and was shocked to fill up for only $1.90/gallon. When was the last time diesel fuel was priced at these levels? Amazing … but can’t imagine it can stay this […]

Replacing a Volvo Penta raw water pump on our sailboat

| November 25, 2015

As mentioned last week, the Volvo raw water pump (840557) aboard Encore was beginning to drip. This usually indicate a little corrosion (cough, cough) and leakage around the seal closest to the impeller. Instead of sending the pump out to be re-built for $165, decided to purchase a new Johnson “direct replacement” (10-24707-01) pump ($350) […]

Received this after TWO changes to our Liberty Mutual policy

| November 23, 2015

As I mentioned to my Liberty Mutual agent … “at least I know what my premiums are paying for – mailings!” It is hard to believe that removing Taylor’s car from our policy and adding the X5 could generate 14 multipage envelopes of policy information? That said, our annual auto policy renews in November… so […]

Encore is having water pump woes … drip, drip, drip

| November 20, 2015

Yet another part to be serviced, rebuilt or replace on Encore’s Volvo diesel. This time it’s the raw water pump dripping from the weep hole … and indication the seal is no longer keeping the water in the pump. This is a normal wear item and most cruisers not only carry a spare impeller and […]

First road trip for our new-used 2010 BMW X5 35d

| November 7, 2015

  I took “Brenda’s” car on its first road trip this week without asking while making calls in NE Ohio – whoops?!?! It sure was an enjoyable car to drive … too bad it replaces her 1998 Toyota Rav4 and not my 2006 Honda Pilot. Jealously aside, I was anxious to see just what kind […]

EPA, Volkswagen Spar Over New Emissions Claims

| November 3, 2015

When there is blood in the water, it’s a feeding frenzy. Just as we Volkswagen diesel advocates were thinking “maybe” the company would come up with a fix … then the second shoe dropped. This news includes more diesel vehicles, this time the 6-cylinder TDIs adding Audi and Porsche diesel SUVs. According to earlier comments, […]

More work than expected on the BMW X5 35d diesel

| October 26, 2015

I picked up Brenda's 2010 BMW X5 35d on Friday night and started tinkering with it this weekend (yes, my wife's — bummer! — but her 1998 Rav4 needed to be replaced). She absolutely fell in love with the panoramic sunroof (see below) and didn't seem to mind the “many” creature comforts either. There were […]

What about a diesel SUV … do I dare?

| October 19, 2015

While helping Taylor look for his next car, I ran across a higher mile (highway), one owner 2010 BMW X5 35d that needs a little work. I'm confident I can take care of the minor body work and paint … but nervous about the computer issues and non-working AC. After a little research on how […]

Dieselgate– the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal

| September 23, 2015

As a long time advocate for long running and efficient diesel engines, I’m appalled to hear Volkswagen purposely cheated on emissions testing. I’ve been someone who has taken pride in the huge advancements diesel engine manufacturers and fuel refineries have made in the past decade (kicking and screaming) and have regularly posted stories in this […]

A spare Racor 500FG diesel fuel filter and water separator

| May 30, 2015

My good friend Mark replaced his old Racor 500FG fuel filter on his boat last year with one of the newer versions with a heat shield around the bowl (although Mark and Dar recently sold Zola).   From what I can tell the heat shield” was about the only change Parker Hannnifin has made to […]

An interesting way to park your car and VW Golf TDI decision

| May 13, 2015

Besides having a chauffer park your car for you, the Porsche owner above has invested in a pretty cool CarDok. Not to be out done, my friend Tim Hunter has found an even better way to park his Volkswagen … (kidding) photo right. We were both somewhat distressed seeing his old TDI (now his daughter’s […]

Audi Has Made Diesel From Water And Carbon Dioxide

| April 27, 2015

It’s the holy grail in energy production: produce a fuel that is both carbon neutral and can be poured directly into our current cars without the need to retrofit. There are scores of companies out there trying to do just that using vegetable oil, algae, and even the microbes found in panda poop to turn […]

The Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel after a winter slumber

| April 1, 2015

For those of us who love diesels, the sweet sound of an old Mercedes Benz diesel idling is indeed a beautiful mechanical sound. Below is a very short clip of my 1982 300D Turbodiesel waking up after the winter of 2015 hibernation. Really it is just a filler post since it is a busy week […]

More work on the boat — the Volvo diesel among other things

| February 4, 2015

While walking out to the boat in the evening, I glanced down to see an odd looking object floating and then sinking in the water next to the dock. Sure enough a quick LED light from the iPhone illuminated the Manatee “sleeping” just beneath the water. The purpose of this trip was primarily to meet […]

A hardware-aholic is when you buy hose clamps by the pound

| January 29, 2015

I’m the prime example of a “hardware-aholic” because I needed to replace a couple stainless steel hose clamps and ended up buying over 3 pounds of used clamps. I know grocery and clothes shoppers do it, but my weakness is hardware … and perhaps tools. My recent eBay buy was a perfect example of single […]

Looking forward to Land Rover SUVs with diesel engines

| January 24, 2015

The auto shows across North America are in full swing for the winter of 2015 and while keeping an eye to what is coming is always interesting, there are a few quiet stand outs that have peaked my interest. The capable and respected (AND fairly expensive) Land Rovers have always been interesting, but in the […]

Rebuilding a brake caliper on the W123 Mercedes Benz 300D

| January 20, 2015

Once I priced a rebuilt brake caliper the 1982 Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel, I knew I would be rebuilding the the caliper this past weekend, especially since the seal kit was only $9.00 on eBay. The project was pretty straight forward, but removing the old “baked” on seals was not as easy at one might […]

Fuel prices– What is wrong with this picture?

| December 23, 2014

A local convenient store today in Liberty Township, Ohio … December 23, 2014. As a Volkswagen TDI and Mercedes diesel car guy … there is something wrong when the spread between regular unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel is this much – over $1.50 difference! Ugh … back to driving the Honda Pilot, at least for the […]

Can I hold out for the 2016 Volkswagen Crossover?

| December 11, 2014

The U.S. built 2016 Volkswagen Crossover, teased way back in January 2013, may well be the replacement for my aging 2006 Honda Pilot that already has 200,000 miles – I’m not sure I can wait or whether the styling will change by then? It is starting to look like VW may give buyers a choice: […]

New set of tires and even a new trunk light

| December 1, 2014

After my blown tire fiasco I realized all my tires on the 1982 Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel were aging and decided to play it safe and replace them. It made sense since I’ve been driving the car on longer trips than originally intended. Besides tires, I had the slow leak in the spare tire fixed […]

Flat tire and shocking blowout on the Mercedes 300D

| November 30, 2014

While buzzing up the interstate in the old Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel, I noticed a slight mushiness and then a boom. After I unloaded a full trunk of junk onto the side of the road, while the snow was blowing (ugh!), I made a tire change that would have made NASCAR pit crews proud. Unfortunately […]

North America to see the VW 4Motion AllTrack as a 2016 model

| November 22, 2014

  Volkswagen announced their AllTrack concept to a warm reception back in early 2012, but to me they seem a bit slow in getting it to the dealerships. Finally though, we are getting closer, since it looks like the bolstered Golf Sportwagen will be in the U.S. as a 2016 model. For Subaru Outback and […]

Dodge Ram 1500 EcoDiesel awarded Green Truck of the Year

| November 14, 2014

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the 2015 Green Truck of the Year announced by the Green Car Journal. It is the most fuel-efficient truck in the U.S. beating out four other trucks, including another Ram – the 1500 HFE. The other finalists included Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and the Ford F-150. The magazine made the […]

Clean Diesel Technologies granted new Spinel™ patent

| November 5, 2014

Diesel exhaust treatment technology has vastly improved diesel engine emissions over the past decade along with ULSD fuels, but the technology is costly primarily due to rare earth metals. According to a press release yesterday, Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc $CDTI announced new proprietary Spinel™ technology will replace the use of platinum type metals in catalytic […]

My new cologne–Old Diesel

| October 23, 2014

After our 16 hour drive on Wednesday from Cincinnati to Florida, Brenda and I were welcomed by our liveaboard friends Mark and Dar with a cold drink. They had already turn on our refrigeration making it convenient to repack a few items from our cooler box into the galley. I sure appreciate them keeping an […]

Why North Americans will like clean diesel vehicles – Range.

| October 1, 2014

The Volkswagen Golf TDI looks to be delivering smiles for 2015

| September 8, 2014

New York Times auto guy Lawrence Ulrich seemed to be please with Volkswagen’s new 2015 Golf TDI … But no crossover, and no hybrid for that matter, can do what I managed in the new diesel-power Golf TDI: 60.6 miles per gallon over 75 highway miles along the Jersey Shore. That’s my personal highway m.p.g. […]

Added a new fuel filter to our John Deere 330

| August 11, 2014

  One of the small projects this past weekend was to replace the plastic disposable fuel filter on my John Deere 330 a new inexpensive diesel fuel filter (less than $10). The new filter has a glass site tube and fits my modified fuel lines. The element inside this small filter is replaceable (3 for […]

New Volkswagen Seven-passenger CUV to be built in Tennessee

| July 14, 2014

  As hinted a few times before, Volkswagen has now officially announced that it will be building the new “yet to be named” seven passenger CUV  in Chattanooga, TN. The attractive American-sized crossover will help VW compete in the popular SUV/CUV market come 2016. Many VW enthusiasts (and potential new customers) with growing families have […]

Thinking about Volkswagen TDIs again. Thanks Tim! #sarcasm

| July 8, 2014

  Although it may seem as if our garage of family Volkswagens has dwindled in recent years (we’re down to Taylor’s GTI), I’m still thinking “seriously” about the new Golf Sportwagen IF it comes equipped as rumored in early 2015. Hopefully decision-makers are paying close attention to about every VW TDI enthusiast that I know (including […]

Finally had a noticeable dent repaired on my Mercedes 300D

| June 19, 2014

My old Mercedes Benz will never be a show car, but it never fails to attract looks or comments whether I’m traveling the interstates, filling up at the diesel pump or just running errands around town. It still has a couple scratches, a few bubbling rust spots and several minor leftover hail dimples on the […]

Do you keep a couple spare gallons of diesel under the hood?

| June 8, 2014

I was planning to just work on yard and home chores Saturday while Brenda was working, but  got completely distracted by a thought that a 2 gallon fuel container would fit under the hood of the Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel nicely. Hmm, looks like it might even work if I plumbed a secondary fuel line […]

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.