A Fluidampr Harmonic Balancer for the BMW X5 35d

| December 6, 2019

One of the engine components known to fail prematurely on BMW diesels is the weighty harmonic balancers on the 6 cylinder crank shafts. Perhaps the park is designed with the vibration rubber material that degrades or perhaps it is just the constant hammering of the diesel engine that is hard on the original design? In […]

Simple mount in BMW X5 35d for Amazon Echo Auto

| October 12, 2019

It isn’t easy to see this little magnetic bracket I made to hold my new Amazon Echo Auto low on the dash of the BMW X5 35d. I opted to make a little aluminum bracket that straddles the pushbutton switch blanks to the right of a few other buttons. It is fastened with automotive trim […]

Tech Friday: Loving the new Amazon Echo Auto in my car

| October 4, 2019

Last week, Amazon authorized my invitation and gave me a promo code for the Echo Auto Alexa device for the car (it was a long wait, but they did discount to $24.99 for invitation holders). For the passed several months I’ve been using an Echo Input (no speaker) in my BMW X5 35d in an […]

This is why we own shares of Pepsi $PEP and Coke $KO #TBT

| June 13, 2019

We have so many cans (mostly Brenda’s Diet Pepsi, but plenty of my Diet Mountain Dew as well) is almost embarrassing how I take aluminum cans to a local recycling center. It is even more eye-opening to “see” just how much pop (soda) we buy and consume! How is it possible to drink this many […]

Tech Friday: There is a problem with live GPS rerouting

| June 7, 2019

A pitfall in real-time GPS mapping services is that, although they “can” highlight road construction and closures, they are not always accurate or give appropriate advice for detours or “route arounds.” This was apparent on a 16 hour drive back from Florida (see comment) and more recently for a road closing leading to our development […]

Gender roles and a repair estimate for our Honda Pilot

| April 13, 2019

Even in today’s gender-neutral world, there are duties, either said or unsaid, that married couples still assign to each other. One of them in our house assigned to me is taking care of our automotive issues … especially the ones nobody really wants to do. One of this past weeks’ tasks was to take our […]

Is an EV is in my future? Gas Fuel taxes are going up in Ohio.

| April 4, 2019

It looks like Drew’s Tesla Model 3 will arrive just in time (he is currently waiting for delivery), in order to avoid Ohio’s additional 10.5 cent/gallon gasoline tax hike? This new increase will boost Ohio’s gasoline tax it to 38.5 cents per gallon; it is expected that Ohio’s governor will sign a bill which just […]

BMW water injection and how it works to make +50 hp

| January 17, 2019

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Engineering Explained and in this video car guru and mechanical engineer Jason Fenske explains just how BMW used water injection to increase power at full throttle and high manifold pressures. Great stuff. And if this kind of "automotive engineering stuff" interests you and you like aviation like me, […]

Appreciating a heated garage after the first big winter snow

| January 15, 2019

With a “heavy snowfall” that amounted to about 10 inches before melting a bit, I was thankful to have put the snow blower on the tractor last week.  It was about the wettest snow I’ve ever tried to blow and that’s saying something since I’ve been removing snow with the John Deere 330 since the […]

Fuelly.com fuel economy update: 2010 BMW X5 35d #diesel

| December 18, 2018

Here’s a “near the end of the year” update on my 2010 BMW X5 35d with a few modifications. Quite a bit more power, but probably not much of a fuel economy improvement. Nevertheless, it is a heavy SUV and I do tend to drive a bit above the speed limit. Unfortunately we’re back to […]

HowTo: Improving a plastic latch on the 2010 BMW X5 35d

| December 13, 2018

The design of the storage lid and latch on my2010 BMW X5 35d SUV leave a lot to be desired and now that I have new NON-run flat tires, I’m actually using the space under the rear deck for the temporary tire … so it was time to fix the deck lid latch. The plastic […]

The "looks like new" temporary second-hand spare tire arrived

| December 12, 2018

The final piece of converting our 2010 BMW X5 35d from run-flat tires to normal tires is now complete … a temporary spare. Unfortunately, I’ve lost much of my "under the rear floor" storage area (below), but have the security knowing that I have a spare tire and the tools to change it. The only […]

The 2010 BMW X5 35d has a new set of tires to start winter

| December 6, 2018

The set of run flat tires on the 2010 BMW X5 35d were pushed about a long as I dare … since even my "risk tolerate" son said, "Dad, you really need to get those tires replaced before the snow." He is right of course since I lecture him about "good tires being cheap insurance." […]

BMW 528i Rear Window Seal and Variable Timing Solenoid

| December 5, 2018

My son Taylor has been putting off replacing the rear window seal on his 2008 BMW 528i for too long but before the snow starts again decided to come over after work to put it in. It was surprising that this task was easier than expected, considering just how much I dislike fiddling around with […]

Granddaughter pleasure and driving with Waze GPS Navigation

| November 21, 2018

I upgraded to the stock display in my 2010 BMW X5 35d SUV last year to the Avin Android based Nav PLUS and it has worked well as a navigation display … but is way too sluggish so I won’t recommend it … although it might be the older chip and OS. Recently, I noticed […]

With all the political animus, I debated this sticker on my cars

| August 2, 2018

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, but with all the political hate and violence over someone expressing their first amendment point of view, I had to second guess myself in wanting to add my NRA renewal stickers to my cars. In the end, I added them to the old Mercedes and BMW X5 […]

The BMW X5 35d diesel is set for another 15K

| May 16, 2018

The BMW X5 35d hit 170,000 miles and that meant it was overdue for an oil change. The last change was also the high end imported Ravenol, but required an extra quart about 4000 miles ago. I suppose that is par for the course now that this diesel is 8 years old? Nevertheless, I do […]

BMW teased me with new X5 loaner while in for airbag recall

| February 8, 2018

One realizes just how old in the tooth their cars technology is when taking a car in for service and driving something new. This past week, BMW customer service pulled a few strings to get both airbags into my local dealer in order to do a one stop service of my 2010 BMW X5 35d. […]

Airbag recall: Inefficiencies at either BMW or their supplier?

| January 23, 2018

One wonders as to the legal responsibility of auto companies when "making a best effort" to correct the airbag issues in their customers’ cars? Are manufacturers held liable when using parts from their suppliers?  Here’s a comparison: I took our 2006 Honda Pilot in a couple years ago after they notified me about the Takata […]

As my weekly travel decreases, data connectivity is finally good

| October 17, 2017

My mobile life is FINALLY working the way it should, just as my road life is slowing down. I’ve been monkeying around with the "mobile office" for A LOT of years starting with a 1999 AWD Chrysler Town & Country back in the late 1990s before mounting my Palm Treo in my great little Volkswagen […]

New Avin Android based Nav PLUS display for BMW X5 35d

| September 19, 2017

A successful install after receiving the Andrew Rodriguez “group buy” iDrive Android Avin replacement for my BMW X5 35d on Saturday. It was a bit intimidating seeing the bundles of wires and 4″x4″ instruction sheet. But after disassembling the dash, most of the plug n play was very smooth. If there would have been a […]

Relocated the magnetic phone holder in my BMW X5 35d

| September 15, 2017

In anticipation in receiving new iDrive display and components from a "group buy" on the BMW diesel group I belong to, I made a new CD/DVD slot bracket for the previously installed Nato Smart Mount. The previous location was fine for the older small iPhone 5s, but after updating to the much larger iPhone 7 […]

Changing a daylight driving H8 bulb in the BMW X5 35D

| July 8, 2017

You’ll need a small hand with a good grip to change the daytime running light bulbs in the sardine like corners of a BMW X5 35D, and assume other models. That doesn’t mean you can wiggle around and tweak a tool or two to fix and assist, but smaller hands would make the process a […]

Taking a BMW X5 35D to the track – Thanks Andrew!

| June 20, 2017

My Volkswagen TDI and BMW Diesel friend Andrew (proprietor FixMyVW.com) to his BMW X5 35D to the track in Atlanta this past weekend. He posted the run on YouTube and since his “tune” and exhaust is what I put on my 2010 BMW X5 35D … it did getting me pretty excited. Published on Jun […]

Could it be a phantom electrical leak or just a bad battery?

| April 30, 2017

The BMW X5 35d is still without a new battery as the replacement batch is still not available to ship. I’m hoping the new mid-May date for delivery will not be postponed again. Last week just as I was running out the door for the airport, the car would not start again. Seemed to have […]

Looking back a few years to when I started to blog

| April 28, 2017

This “daily” desultory blog started back in April 2005 as an offshoot from my paper journal started in college. It is a place from me to post and talk about life, family, hobbies and whatever happens to be on my mind. I noticed that one of my first posts started on this day 12 years ago about […]

Our 2010 BMW X5 35d is now officially a great road trip vehicle

| March 18, 2017

We’ve taken a enough longer road trips in the 2010 BMW X5 35d now to officially declare it an outstanding road car … no surprise really. The driving characteristics of this 5000+ pound SUV are enjoyable since the handling is tight, interior space excellent, ride comfort “so-so” and highway power substantial. I don’t really want to […]

Update on BMW X5 35d problems: Battery and tires

| March 1, 2017

Neither of the problems I’m having has anything to do with BMW X5 35d diesel brand since the battery and run-flat tires are both aftermarket items. The AGM replacement battery I installed last year is still hanging in there so long as the weather remains warm (cold cranking amps are sufficient), but it will not hold a […]

Ugh! I just hate when this happens to an expensive tire.

| February 26, 2017

Don’t you just hate picking up a nail or screw in a halfway decent tire? The BMW X5 35d has expensive run-flat tires and although I don’t panic about being able to drive the car home with a slow leak, I dread deciding on replace just "one" tire … so hear is hoping I can […]

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. […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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" […]

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 […]

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 […]

Finally closing in on a 2010 BMW X5 35d worthy of driving

| June 26, 2016

It has been a much longer process to get our BMW X5 35d back to road worthy than I initially thought. When I bought the used diesel SUV last year, I knew there were a few things I needed to repair, as well as a few items I wanted to tweak. After tinking on our […]

A broken tool, a stuck part and fixing them

| June 25, 2016

In rounding out and connecting the dots in a couple previous posts, I’ll summarize with a short post and what happened. When reinstalling the brake caliper slides the other day on the BMW X5 35d, I snapped off my Craftsman branded hex socket when tightening down the slide. It was careless on my part as […]

Installed a 2 inch hitch receiver and flat 4-plug on the BMW X5

| June 24, 2016

I’m behind on my BMW X5 35d updates as the hitch installation happened over Father’s Day weekend and I failed to get the photos to my computer. The process started by peeling off the body moldings which have every combination of plastic locking tab. Suffice to say, I broke a few trying to figure out […]

Ceramic Front Discs Brakes installed on the BMW X5 35d

| June 21, 2016

It was past time for brake maintenance as the wear sensor on the BMW X5 35d has been warning me to replace the front brakes for weeks. After a bit of research, I opted for the Power Stop (17-1294) Evolution-Plus Ceramic brakes and am hoping to reduce the dirty brake dust. I’m hoping for continued […]

A near perfect Fathers Day weekend: Cars, Sun, Family and Ribs

| June 20, 2016

We had another outstanding summer weekend weather-wise and enjoyed every minute of each day. I spent my Father’s Day afternoon working on the BMW X5 35d and installing a 2" hitch receiver (upcoming post). Getting all the snapped and clipped on trim off was the biggest hassle … but it is done. We enjoyed grilling […]

An EGR Race Pipe mod for the BMW X5 35d diesel SUV

| June 18, 2016

Finally found enough time to remove even more items from the BMW X5 35d … this time it was to replace the EGR and the EGR cooler assembly with a "gorgeous" billet aluminum EGR Race Pipe from FixMyVW ccm. The photo on left below is fresh out of the package and below and on the […]

BMW X5 35d update: Shedding some weight plus a new item

| May 28, 2016

It is amazing just how many exhaust parts find their way onto modern cars. They do a good job of making diesel exhaust clean, but the expensive and complex process is going to kill the internal combustion engine, in my opinion. I’m amazed at just how much "junk" I had to remove (above) in repairing […]

Still tinkering with the BMW X5 35d after limp mode ordeal

| May 12, 2016

Replaced the defective Throttle Actuator on the BMW X5 35d last night … unfortunately it did not solve the Limp Mode problem. Now to look further into the disconnected sensors after the ECU came back from Andrew Rodriguez and FixMyVW.com.    old | new —

Downloaded iOS Carly for BMW app and ordered OBD adapter

| April 22, 2016

The saga of our poorly running 2010 BMW X5 35d continues while replacing component by component the SUV is inching back towards running condition. The most recent hiccup was a bit of a computer glitch after getting the ECU back from the tuner. I was hoping that as as soon as I powered everything back […]

Archive: Looking forward to seeing this at the 2016 TDIFest

| April 20, 2016

In an email exchange with Andrew Rodriguez of FixMyVW.com, he hinted that he’ll have a few new products up in Wisconsin at the 2016 TDIFest this Labor Day. One item that caught my eye was a billeted chunk of aluminum "goodness" as the marketeers say — he knew what he was doing sending it to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Downloading torrents and updating BMW Navigation maps

| March 20, 2016

  One cumbersome downside of driving older premium vehicles like our 2010 BMW X5 35D is that 6 year old technology might as well be 20 years old. The navigation software and maps leave a lot to be desired in today’s Internet connected mapping world. The current 2009 maps (above) have never been updated and […]

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 […]

A long BMW X3 test drive — well, a loaner car

| February 7, 2016

While our BMW X5 35d is in the shop and waiting for a few parts, I was given a pretty nice loaner car or the weekend – X3 XDrive 28i. After buzzing around town for a coupled day, I must say that it is nearly a 10 in my book. I’m impressed with the styling, […]

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. […]

New cars to admire – the 2016 BMW 7 series sedan

| December 22, 2015

While the up and coming generation ogles the impressive all-electric Teslas, I’m still attracted to gasoline and oil burners (aka: diesels) … especially the latest refined performance and luxury sedans coming from BMW. The 2016 BMW 7 series is particularly impressive, with its sleek lines and twin turbo V-8 engine cranking out 445-horsepower and 480 […]

A close call for this California BMW X5 SUV driver

| December 15, 2015

No this is not our BMW X5 35d … but it is my wife’s biggest fear. She has had several items fall off trucks or get kicked up from the road in front of her over the years. Usually it’s a cracked windshield or “thunk-thunk” as she bounces over lumber or whatever (alignment issues perhaps?) […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.
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