View Full Version : Cuda's Cars, v2.0

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May 22nd, 2018, 10:00 AM
The MINI and Fiat 500 both put the seatback-tilt lever on the inside-side of the seat and it drives me bonkers. The handle on the outside of the seat makes it go up and down.

May 22nd, 2018, 02:50 PM
We need to go back to knobs for F/R bottom seat cushion height, plus side bolster angle.

July 3rd, 2018, 09:24 PM
I'm beginning to wonder if manual 2011-2012 Mustang GTs are rarer than I thought. I'm not finding many for sale. I'm still indecisive about my next car. When road tripping I want a comfy cruiser, when daily driving I alternate between wanting that and wanting a sports car, and when driving curvy roads I of course want a sports car. Am planning a road trip or two this month and I'd really like to have something new by then. Eenie meenie miney moe...

July 4th, 2018, 05:12 AM
C5Z06 is always the answer.

July 4th, 2018, 06:40 AM
Not on my budget. :)

July 4th, 2018, 07:00 AM
Saw one locally for $16k on a trash lot. Supposedly that market already bottomed but who knows.

July 4th, 2018, 07:26 PM
C4 Corvette and comfy brotege. Or similar.

July 8th, 2018, 09:14 PM
I'm thinking $13k for a really good car, but I'd rather spend $11k or less atm. So leaning towards the sane/boring option for now actually. If I can find one...

Yesterday my first car was spotted (by me ;)) autocrossing again, where I did my first ever autocross 19 years ago. This is the second owner who has brought it out to an event that I happened to be at, and I didn't sell the car to an autocrosser. It just can't stay away. :up:

http://www.pbase.com/bryanh/image/167782334/large.jpg (http://www.pbase.com/bryanh/image/167782334/original)

July 9th, 2018, 05:44 AM
I took Ash to Cars and Coffee for the first time last weekend. We parked next to an MR2..."Hey, you know who loves these cars? Bryan." Then later "Oh, hey, a 350Z, Bryan had a nice one until recently" Then a GT-R, "This is the factory version of what Bryan raced..."

I need to make my own memories. ;)

July 9th, 2018, 09:56 AM
LOL. You're doing it right, don't worry. :)

July 10th, 2018, 02:51 PM
A C5Z06 popped up for sale yesterday with lots of recent maintenance for $13,500. After some thought I elected not to pursue it. Logic won over desire. This makes it official - I'm old.

July 10th, 2018, 03:48 PM
That's a steal

July 10th, 2018, 06:50 PM
Bruh, go back, hurry.

July 10th, 2018, 08:44 PM
It's up in MI Tyler. Feel like trading in?

July 11th, 2018, 08:17 AM
Out of my range, but I can pick it up for you ..

July 11th, 2018, 08:20 AM
Got a link to the add?

July 11th, 2018, 08:40 AM
Michigan is Ohio's hat, unless it's on the UP it's only a few hours from me.

But, I'm going on vacation tomorrow. Boo.

July 11th, 2018, 01:53 PM
See if this FB link works... https://www.facebook.com/groups/522592824569057/permalink/1012685105559824/?sale_post_id=1012685105559824

July 11th, 2018, 02:12 PM
Weird. I can see the post, but can't scroll down it anything on it

July 11th, 2018, 03:14 PM
That would be in slm's neck of the woods.

October 23rd, 2018, 08:17 PM
Detail of the MR2 is mostly finished. Just, um, details left to get to.

Pics not doing it justice. Old camera, rusty technique, insert further excuses here. :)

Awesome Pl8 courtesy of Pl8. :rawk:







In other news I went to Walmart today to get oil for the Z's next change. I went to the Walmart in the nice new part of town, nestled amongst the Porsche, Lexus, Acura, BMW, Audi dealers. The people watching was *still* typical Walmart. Where do they come from? :lol:

And they were out of 0w40.

October 23rd, 2018, 08:27 PM
Those have such great lines. And much shiny. :up:

October 24th, 2018, 03:44 AM
An amazing car. Would like to have spent more time in one.

October 24th, 2018, 05:11 PM
You wanna come over here and detail my Skylines to that level Bryan? I'm gonna have to pay someone to do so, as i just don't have the patience/desire to go hard out cleaning them. Mainly cos when i try to the end result isn't usually as good as i hoped it would be. :|

October 29th, 2018, 06:31 AM
Get me out there, I'll bring my tools. :)

A lot of the look is achieved through paint correction, more so than wax/sealant.

October 29th, 2018, 07:01 AM
I'm pretty close with a local tinting place that does all kinds of detailing. They're always hawking the Xpel Paint Protection coatings (not to me, for obvious reasons). I've heard people infer that the coating is not effective and a waste of money. Any idea? They get a lot of exotics in to do it but those customers probably don't bother with a true cost-benefit analysis.

October 29th, 2018, 09:30 AM
That MR2 is clean. :eek:

MR2 Fan
October 29th, 2018, 10:04 AM

October 29th, 2018, 12:04 PM
I'm pretty close with a local tinting place that does all kinds of detailing. They're always hawking the Xpel Paint Protection coatings (not to me, for obvious reasons). I've heard people infer that the coating is not effective and a waste of money. Any idea? They get a lot of exotics in to do it but those customers probably don't bother with a true cost-benefit analysis.

My understanding is that XPel is a clear film that is applied as a layer of physical protection. It makes a lot of sense for a brand new car actually. It can help prevent rock chips for example. The older films used to yellow or brown over time. I've heard the newer ones are a lot better. Although I have no personal experience, from the cars I've seen that have had this type of thing done I'd personally want to do the whole front end by covering complete panels (bumper, hood, fenders). That way there's no 'seam' where the film ends on the hood and fenders. This, of course, costs more than just doing a clear-bra type installation.

It seems of less use for a used car that already has road rash. Often, these films are sold as part of a thorough detail package because you'll want to perfect/correct the paint before laying this protection down on top of it and "locking in" that finish.

The same strong preference for thorough paint correction/preparation applies to chemical-based coatings (OptiCoat, GTechniq, Modesta, etc). They vary, but most have a semi-permanent nature to them. I don't know if I'm sold yet on the idea. Water spots can be a problem on coatings. There is still debate about this among products and among users who say the benefits of a coating outweigh that disadvantage. I haven't tried one yet. But a friend has tried a consumer coating a couple of times and keeps going back to using traditional sealant/wax. It requires more maintenance to keep the protection 'fresh', but it can be argued that coatings require maintenance too and are harder to deal with if one ends up being one of the ones for whom water spots become an issue.

Spray waxes are a great thing. Newer technology. They offer super easy, quick and painless application in return for weeks of protection (not months). They also double as drying aids, which help pick up water off the surface of the car after a wash. So I personally use a high quality sealant as the "base layer" and top with a spray wax at almost every wash. It adds 10-15 minutes to the wash time, but keeps the car looking amazing for little extra effort. This is the maintenance I referred to in the previous paragraph. Most spray waxes can even be used on glass and trim, so you don't have to worry about what you apply it on.

October 29th, 2018, 12:07 PM
Interesting, thanks. Other than going on a Zaino kick a long time ago I never put much thought into what I need to do to keep a car looking new. Then I bought an old car with no paint. *shrug*

The MINI would probably shine up real nice but I've never tried.

November 9th, 2018, 07:05 PM
If you opt for a traditional wax/sealant applied, you could probably pay a local detailer a reasonable sum to get a 1-stage paint correction and protection applied. Would look real nice for a daily driver without getting into 4-figure show car detailing prices.


Some of you may have seen on FB how I was trying to find some rear wheels/tires in my stock that fit the MR2. I want to take it out for a local autox this weekend without wearing out the unobtanium stock-sized tires that I use on the street. My old race tires, 2008-build-date Hoosier A6s that are hard as rocks, still have enough tread depth up front but the rears are corded. So I needed rears. The 350Z and MR2 have the same bolt pattern, so test fitting began.

Small album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/qUTZWpxwf2SnQjf78

All three sets were too big. I definitely expected the 18x11s not to fit. :) Inboard clearance was fine but they stuck outside the fender quite a bit. I figured the 9.5s with 245s stretched on them might have a chance, but only if I opted for stance levels of rear camber and rolled the fenders. Not happening. So then I thought the stock front 350Z wheels with 255s squeezed on might be even narrower, as the stock wheels have higher offset (they're more tucked and less flush, as the kids would say). Still better but not likely to clear during high G maneuvering. I'm not willing to find out the hard way. The offset is the main problem, but also the fact these 18" tires are all a couple inches greater in diameter than the 15s the car came with. They really fill out the fender.

Modern size wheels/tires really change the look of this car. But man, 15s are so easy to carry! Look ma, one hand.

I looked online for new tires to throw on the race wheels (to replace the corded Hoosiers) and I was a day late and a dollar short. Monday delivery at the earliest. Poo. But I did notice there's a new tire available in stock sizes including the unobtanium 225/50-15, which would mean I wouldn't be as concerned with wearing out my current street set. There's a new Pirelli Trofeo R, the one that comes on the track package Camaro (ZL1 1LE?). Probably great for racing and spirited driving, and not so great for cold rainy mornings. I also wonder about longevity on road trips. There's also the venerable Toyo RA-1 in the same sizes, with the same concerns/questions. Anyone have experience "daily driving" on these tires?

November 11th, 2018, 01:09 PM
Id love to try some Trofeo but damn scary price and hard to source. I think Im going back to Cup 2 - still expensive but not scary and very easy to get.

November 26th, 2018, 04:37 PM
I ended up autocrossing the MR2 on the normal street tires. Pumped them up to low 40s (PSI) to reduce shoulder wear. The local lot is low grip asphalt so didn't tear them up too bad at all. :up:

My GoPro bricked itself that morning so I ended up throwing my card in a friend's GoPro last minute without checking the settings - which were all wrong for my position. :thppt:


When I retired the car from autox years ago I set the front sway bar to the softest setting. I didn't bother changing it back to hardc0r3 mode for this one event. The car was extra floppy. :) The real challenge was the mushy delayed reactions to my steering input thanks to 55-series 300+ treadwear tires. Yay. :lol:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4810/45888926541_2053a37d8e_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2cV3K7D)IMG_4781 (https://flic.kr/p/2cV3K7D) by Jimmy Au-Yeung (https://www.flickr.com/photos/124714349@N04/), on Flickr

I think it's time to change the brake fluid. Now that ATE SuperBlue is banninated, what's the good value reasonably hi temp stuff?

November 27th, 2018, 07:46 AM
Run for the border? Ask a friend to bring a couple of cans of superblue over the wall? I'm sure there's lots fresnans who regularly go to TJ.

Edit: wait, isn't ATE typ2000 the same thing except it's just amber, as what was banned was the dye?

November 27th, 2018, 09:55 AM
It's true. Been a while since I've seen it, but I was thinking another fluid might be more red than amber and I could still do the color changing brake flush method.

November 30th, 2018, 03:14 PM
It's true. Been a while since I've seen it, but I was thinking another fluid might be more red than amber and I could still do the color changing brake flush method.

Hollis is a big fan of Castrol SRF, but that's like 4x the cost. I would just use Typ 200 and wait for the dark old fluid to change to lighter colored fluid.

December 14th, 2018, 09:46 PM
Anyone here know someone who has used a low viscosity brake fluid in their older car (90s or earlier)? Good, bad, indifferent? Seems these LV fluids are becoming more common with modern ABS/ESP systems needing to cycle with the quickness.

January 26th, 2019, 09:12 PM
Bosch says their LV fluid is fine for any car that DOT4 is appropriate for. I shall put it in soon.


I'm still looking for a new DD. I happened to notice that E91 328i Tourings are in budget, and not knowing much about BMWs outside of M3s, I'm starting to do a little research. It's interesting going back 10 years later and comparing 3-series with G35. The G35 has simpler option packages and comes with more stuff more easily - at least the Sport models. Backup camera, adaptive HIDs, premium sound system, bluetooth... all easy to get on an '07 G. In 2010 all those things were extra options on a 328i, even if you opted for the Premium and Sport packages. And actually, a backup camera was never an option in the US.

Quite interestingly, the E91 is about halfway between the 350Z and G35 sedan in length. That's surprising - visually the E91 is a long car, and it's also wider than the G35 sedan. BMW must have cut all the length with that super short front overhang.

Now that I'm open to this option as well as 6MT G35 Sedans (previously I was looking only for a 5AT), I think I need to find cars locally to test drive. I can't find technical details on the suspension differences in the sport package for the BMW, but I imagine if I test drove a sedan with the sport package it'd be representative enough of the wagon driving experience. At first glance, an E91 6MT with sport package, Premium package, Xenons, etc might be even harder to find than the right G35...

Why do I like rare cars? :lol: Actually the question is, why are the best cars so rare?


The 350Z is still ticking along great as it approaches 120k miles. Going to do a major service soon. It occasionally has a slightly rough idle. I wish it would just go bad so I could isolate which cylinder it is. :p

January 29th, 2019, 05:48 PM
I found a 6MT E90 328i and a 6MT V36 G35, both with Sport packages, in Sacramento and made the trek to test drive them today.

The BMW was interesting. So different in some ways from the dozen or so Japanese sports cars I've owned. The funniest thing is the BMW turn signal controls kind of suck, so I get why nobody uses them. :lol:

Mostly was impressed with the E90. It drove very well. Driver comfort and position is excellent. Adjustable side bolsters and a telescope steering wheel that actually telescopes close enough - big win. The clutch and shifter were great, felt pretty much new. Long throws to the shifter, but that's OEM for ya. Steering was nicely weighted and quick. The throttle pedal, though, was weirdly dead in the first 10% of travel. I'm reasonably sure this is a BMW thing, not something wrong with this car. A linear throttle map would be great...

Suspension is a little soft but rides really well, seemed almost sporty enough. I'd probably do something to firm it up if I owned one - shocks or a bar or something.

Stereo was the basic one and was pretty underwhelming (I'm whelmed...).

Speaking of being whelmed, the engine was quite uninspiring. It's the most characterless 6 I've driven. And not very quick. Not dangerously slow, but coming from a 350Z it almost felt like I was driving a Twin: Where's the torque? And I hear nothing. Bet there's a surge at the top end, then..... ..... ... nope, guess not.

The car seemed to have aged pretty well, much better than T's pampered E46. And I wouldn't call this particular E90 cherished. Plenty of body blemishes and some scratches on the interior.

Then I went a few blocks down the road to drive the G35. It was buried in the back and they didn't want to extract it, despite me calling ahead yesterday saying I was driving 3 hours today to see the car. Oh well. I got to sit in it and make vroom vroom noises. :lol:

The stereo is much better, although there's a strange boost in the lower midrange frequencies.

Headroom may be an issue, unless this car had a slightly broken seat adjustment. I motored it all the way down and my hair was brushing the headliner next to the sunroof.

Must find another one to check out, and actually drive.

The search continues.

Had lunch afterward with Russ and another friend. :up:

January 30th, 2019, 12:30 AM
Hmm... How tall are you? My old roommate had a manual transmission G35 for a while, and he's 5'10", but with a 30" inseam, so he's long in the torso. He had a difficult time driving my Miata without the top of the windshield frame being in his field of view. I don't remember him having headroom issues with the G35.

January 30th, 2019, 09:19 AM
5'11", 32" inseam, so also tall in the torso. I like to sit fairly upright in cars for the most part. Zero gangsta lean here.

I have plenty of headroom in the 350Z so despite the sunroof in the taller G35 I was surprised.

NBs are a challenge for me with the top up, too, but the windshield frame isn't directly in my line of sight.

February 5th, 2019, 05:10 PM
Ffff... I've got a line on a lifetime CA enthusiast owned manual wagon now, and I still haven't found a G35 to test drive. The BMW wagon is pre-facelift and black, so not ideal from that perspective. But it has RWD, Sport package, nice wheels and tires, Konis, lots of recent maintenance, very clean in and out, all the usual stuff that I want that is hard to find. I'm definitely going to sleep on it. So close, yet... not as close as I'd like. Oh and a salvage title due to a small hit (have photo of the hit, it's not concerning).

February 5th, 2019, 05:46 PM
As long as you're not worried about resale, go for it!

April 26th, 2019, 10:37 AM
Back from my little unintended hiatus of not being able to log in. :)

Still on the hunt for a new daily. Today I found a car somewhere in PA. I'm not sure it's The One, but I'm looking into it. Maybe.

The 350Z hit 120k miles recently and is due for some maintenance. A couple weeks ago I replaced the MT fluid, put on new brake rotors, and installed an aftermarket diff bushing to replace the leaking OEM one. I still hate bushing work. :lol: More to come.

Not much else has changed lately.

April 26th, 2019, 10:39 AM
A bunch of us here if you need some on-site tire kickers. Unfortunately I'm out of state until May 10th, but it's a standing offer from me at least.

April 26th, 2019, 12:33 PM
Tampa tire kicker here.

April 27th, 2019, 10:38 AM
The car is in the Westchester/Philly area. It's a 2011 328i in blue/saddle. There's apparently a BMW specialty shop around there called Bimmerworks. It's looking like I'll call them Monday about doing a PPI on this car. Never had one done before but I've always heard it's a good idea with German cars. This car is missing a few options I'd like but I have found almost no cars that come even close, so I'm resigning myself to either missing a few things or just not having a car. Finding a 6MT/Sport car is hard enough to begin with. This one has that, plus the heated seats, split fold rear seats, xenon headlights, and under 100k miles. On the downside it has only the basic stereo (bleh) and doesn't have Comfort Access. The latter I can probably live without.

The underside pics the owner provided don't show any real rust, which surprised me a little.

If it checks out and we agree on a deal, I'd probably fly out May 4-5 timeframe to drive it home. If so I'll have to see who of you are along the way!

April 27th, 2019, 10:47 PM
I'm starting to get excited about the car, which usually means I'm going to end up with it (as long as something doesn't go sour). :lol:

Even found a 1-way flight for <$100 on a Tuesday. If I can make that work with the owner that'd save me a bunch.

I love German names for things... the color is TIEFSEEBLAU. :mad: :D

Here are a few pics:

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169116518/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169116518/original)

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169116519/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169116519/original)

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169116520/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169116520/original)

April 28th, 2019, 04:29 AM

You are not really missing anything with the difference between 5 and 6 gear manual.

April 28th, 2019, 09:27 AM
Oh, the only other choice of transmission on the E90 328i is the 6spd automatic. 99% of them came so equipped.

I'm becoming a little concerned with road rash and windshield pitting having now learned what PA uses on the roads in winter. The salt would concern me too but the underside of the back of the car looks pretty reasonable to me.

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169118302/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169118302/original)

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169118301/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169118301/original)

April 28th, 2019, 10:55 AM
Ohhhhh, I misread you, sorry. I thought when you said finding a 6MT was hard you were settling for a 5MT. In the E46 generation there was a 5MT and 6MT offered at the same time. Low information owners sometimes prefer the 6MT because more must be better. The reality is the transmissions are nearly the same except the 6MT has an even higher overdrive available. For sport driving purposes it is not used.

That undercarriage does look nice. I bought my 2002 330 and it spent its entire life in NJ and Central PA. It isn't rusted either. BMW uses some pretty heavy duty anti-corrosion material in the body cavities. I'm currently needing to grind a bunch out of the wheel arch in the rear to fold the lip down.

April 28th, 2019, 12:09 PM
I'm in KC, if you are driving through, or need me to kick, hit me up and I'll make it happen

April 29th, 2019, 07:10 AM
I can see how it'd get mixed up, Nate. You're probably recalling how I was originally looking for a 5AT G35 sedan, then a 6spd, then settling on a 5AT again... my car quest this time around has been all over the map. :lol:

I noticed on the CarFax report how generous BMW's corrosion warranty was. I think it's still active for this car, even. You're right they must've figured something out with rustproofing. I thought even new cars still rusted away when subjected to salted roads. My main concern though is rusted/stuck bolts since I like to work on my own cars.

The owner is holding the car exclusively for me at this point so it's just a matter of timing with the inspection, my flight, and his Tesla delivery date. So I will have to start planning a road trip. :cool:

April 29th, 2019, 12:48 PM
Taking an early look at this, I have 3 route options that make sense.


What I don't know yet is the dates of my travel or even the time of day that I start. At 42 hours, if I get an early start on Day 1 I could potentially do the trip in 3 long days with 14 hours of driving each day. That's ambitious, but if the car is comfy enough it may be possible given the advantageous time zone changes. That doesn't leave a lot of time to stop along the way for food/fellowship. Debating whether I should add an extra half day (and hotel night) to make it a more laid back trip. I don't anticipate any weather delays in May but maybe some of you from east of the Rockies can re-educate me on that. :) The southern route would probably be the safest bet for that.

April 29th, 2019, 01:26 PM
The car should be fairly comfortable. It has to be more accommodating than mine and I drive mine 13hrs (Pittsburgh to St. Paul) a few times a year.

April 29th, 2019, 03:11 PM
Having done the Oklahoma, Texas, Albuquerque route, many times that's a brutal stent.

April 29th, 2019, 04:10 PM
Take the route you've never driven. If all are options I'd vote for the I70 route as most interesting & I40 as quickest.

The problem with the Denver route is you will be stopping in Grand Junction which means you'll be doing some of that in the dark which negates the scenic value.

The only weather worry are thunderstorm's / heavy rain and each route has an equal chance of that.

April 30th, 2019, 11:42 AM
I actually prefer empty open roads, Tyler, if that's what you're referring to. Beats fighting traffic to me. :)

I've driven every route, except the northern 2 routes east of Lincoln/Topeka.

May 1st, 2019, 12:42 PM
I agree with XHawkeye. Your only weather issue will be thunderstorms. We are past the tipping point of potential snow east of the Mississippi.

Avoid Chicago like the plague. Don't go anywhere near it.

If it was me and I could meet up with some of the Denverites, I would go that route. But if speed is your game then the Southern route is the obvious choice. But I would do it in 4+ days. And your PA Turnpike cost will be around $35-40.

May 2nd, 2019, 04:49 PM
Feckin' 'ell mate. :lol: That's a lot of toll. I thought Chicago was bad!


350Z: Happy to report fresh rotors really sharpened up the braking response, and firmed up the pedal. Win! Kind of unexpected actually given the pads didn't change.


MR2: JDM tyres y0 (https://photos.app.goo.gl/wa434XTo7aQ5g75L9). Meaty (https://photos.app.goo.gl/iYUQedBwkMY5u16e9). 'Bout time the proper sizes were available!

I miss 15" wheels and tires. I can carry these one in each hand instead of having to roll them. Get off my lawn.

May 2nd, 2019, 05:16 PM
re: tolls. If you get off of the turnpike and take I-81 South at Harrisburg, you can get on I-68 west and take a more interesting route. You'd meet back up with your initial route in St. Louis. You'd take I-79 south through WV which is really pretty. Adds two hours (41 becomes 43) though. I'm not sure how much you'd save on tolls.

May 3rd, 2019, 02:07 AM
Avoid Chicago like the plague. Don't go anywhere near it.


Yeah, that's good advice unless you're willing to add a bunch of time in traffic.

May 6th, 2019, 12:35 PM
re: tolls. If you get off of the turnpike and take I-81 South at Harrisburg, you can get on I-68 west and take a more interesting route. You'd meet back up with your initial route in St. Louis. You'd take I-79 south through WV which is really pretty. Adds two hours (41 becomes 43) though. I'm not sure how much you'd save on tolls.

Looks like he would save $25-30. But he wouldn't get to drive a Delorean....Huh..huh...huh.

His other option would be to head south from West Chester and hit I95 and then take I70 west from Baltimore to I68 west and then take your southern route via I79 and I64. Then he pays no tolls.

May 6th, 2019, 12:57 PM
Yeah, but, Baltimore. Yuck.


He's welcome to drive the DMC. If he's going this week I won't be there but Ash knows where the keys are.

May 7th, 2019, 01:28 PM
The car gets a PPI this coming Monday or Tuesday. Then I'll go from there, maybe be driving it back home by the following weekend.

I still need to decide on a route. Great suggestion on a more scenic section, Nate. I'd like to do that if I extend to 3.5 or 4 days of driving. I may have a friend come along too.

May 7th, 2019, 02:31 PM
If you can, Tonto Natl forest and Sedona are amazing.

May 7th, 2019, 08:48 PM
I've been to Sedona (yeah, amazing) but not Tonto. I don't think I'll end up that far south. I'm already contemplating running the Finger Lakes Champ Tour up in NY on the 17th-19th if everything works out. Man am I a sucker for a national autox event. :lol: That would possibly 'force' me into the northern route thru Chicago.

May 8th, 2019, 05:54 AM
If you're finding yourself near Pittsburgh and wanting a place to crash we have both a spare bedroom and a new pull-out sofa bed in our bar/study. I work from home a few days a week so it wouldn't matter when you showed up. We're 5 miles off of exit 39 of I-76/PATP in Allison Park, PA.

May 25th, 2019, 03:54 PM
So change of plans. I'm still picking up the car (I leave on a red-eye tonight) but I'm going to head south to surprise my gf in FL and spend some time there before driving home - which means I'll be taking the southern route across the US.

The 350Z sold yesterday, which was good timing to only have 2 days without a DD.

May 26th, 2019, 06:59 PM
Where in FL?

May 27th, 2019, 10:28 AM
Hopefully not south of I10

May 27th, 2019, 11:13 AM
Odds are it is below I10 considering 90% is below it :)

May 27th, 2019, 02:26 PM
How close are you going to be swinging by Atlanta?

May 29th, 2019, 10:24 AM
I'm in the Ft Lauderdale area for the next couple weeks. Looks like we are going to Ft Myers this weekend for some test-n-tune time with the new BRZ build. You ever go down there for car fun Joe?

Just looking at my route options heading back to CA in a couple weeks, it appears I'll head up to I-10 and get to Baton Rouge where I can either continue on I-10 West or head Northwest, go through Dallas, and connect up with I-40 which I've driven several times. Never done I-10, and I wonder if Adam is still back in Houston. Looks like Atlanta is a little too far out of the way. Tampa might be possible, I think it might be a 1hr diversion or so.


So far the 328i is a likable car. An outstanding long distance cruiser with the great sport seats, extremely comfortable ride quality, long fuel interval and surprisingly good passing torque in 6th gear. I averaged 31mpg highway on my first day, which is above the EPA 28 highway rating.

I haven't really tested out the handling yet, but it feels good in ordinary driving. I think the shocks have very little compression damping (low speed *or* high speed) because they absorb bumps like you wouldn't believe, and when you have to swerve (as I did avoiding a car changing lanes towards me) it takes a while for the suspension to set. There's lots of soft travel to get through before it starts firming up and changing direction. I suspect soft springs, small sway bars, and comfort-oriented dampers. And this is the optional M-Sport suspension! Can't imagine how soft the standard one is. Konis and a firmer front sway bar may be in my future.

The interior is in really good shape for its age/mileage. The leather has held up well, as have most other surfaces. It's pretty much rattle free, although one specific kind of bump can trigger one tiny brief rattle. Curiously, though the steering doesn't ooze with feedback (it's heavily weighted which I think gives most people the illusion of connection) the wheel has more kickback over bumps than I've experienced in a while.

Exterior is an 8/10, the paint needs a good cleanup and polish and the plastic headlight covers are pitted. There's a scuff on the rear bumper that I don't think will buff out much, but I'll try.

I just had my first problem with it today, which hopefully is just a small gremlin and not an expensive repair. The drivers seat will go up but not down. I had a couple other odd things happen with the car - minor funny things, like the outside mirrors aiming down after stopping at a toll booth. And the one-touch turn signal operation going from a triple indication the past 2 days to a single indication today. These cars are loaded with complexity and layers of tech beyond the simple straightforward stuff I'm used to from Japanese cars. The cruise control operation, for example, is brilliant but takes time to learn and get used to. It'll even apply the brakes if you pull back hard enough on the stalk, indicating a desire to reduce speed significantly. I'm spending some time with the owners manual to learn all these things - something I haven't had to do before.

The automatic wipers are brilliant. Totally not a gimmick.

The stereo... well I knew it wouldn't be great, it's only the base stereo (out of 3 or 4 levels available). It's pretty sub-par though. Unfortunately it's one level too low to make upgrading it easy, so if I decide to allocate money to this it won't be cheap. In my car search over the past few months it became painfully clear that so few customers ordered their E90 BMWs the way I would have - loaded with options but with a stick shift. Speaking of that, the transmission feels great. The shifter, well the throws are extremely long and it's far away. I guess that's sedan life. :)

Trunk space is surprisingly limited with the aftermarket space-saver spare kit in there. These cars came with run-flats which most people don't like, so many owners ditch them for regular tires and either go on faith, risk having a patch kit ruin the TPMS sensor, or carry a spare around. I haven't decided yet if I'll keep the spare kit or sell it.

It sounds like I'm picking the car apart but actually I really like it for a daily so far.

May 29th, 2019, 04:07 PM

Route options: If you decide to do I-40 be sure to check the weather for possible thunderstorms between Dallas & Amarillo. The attached pic show the blob that blew thru earlier today. It caused the tornado sirens to blow which caused the wife to text me 12 times in 10 minutes.

<off-topic> Love watching Flightaware for DFW when thunderstorms blow thru. A flight from DFW to Amarillo had to fly to El Paso before turning north, and a flight from Little Rock to DFW made a right turn over Houston to get in the pattern. </off-topic>

Auto wiper: Glad they work on the BMW. Got them on a Mazda & hate them because they think 12 drops of water require high speed even with the sensitivity set to low.

May 29th, 2019, 04:31 PM
Oh well. Enjoy the new car, man!

May 29th, 2019, 04:50 PM
Let me know a loose itinerary and I may be able to make something happen. When you leave Ft Laud which way will you be driving? If you take I75 up (probably fastest way) to I10 then you will drive right near me. Might be a good time to stop for lunch/dinner etc.

May 30th, 2019, 12:01 PM
I will definitely check weather forecasts before I go which may determine my route. I'd expect in another week and a half the weather will have calmed down - isn't this quite late in the season for big storms across the middle of the country?

Joe, it looks like the turnpike up through Orlando is the fastest way to I-10, but I-75 across alligator alley and up through Tampa could work too. I'll do my best to remember to PM you once I decide when to head back. Thinking mid June.

May 30th, 2019, 04:35 PM
Big storm season would normally be dying off by now, but this spring has been bonkers - we're still seeing huge flooding right now.

June 3rd, 2019, 03:14 PM
Let me know if you're going through Dallas. I'll buy you lunch/ dinner/ whatever meal it is if you're so inclined.

Be warned, going west through Dallas is a long slog to El Paso. From Dallas to Phoenix, you're halfway when you're in El Paso, and you're still in Texas. West Texas has pretty liberal speed limits (80mph posted) and drivers haul ass. I got passed doing 100, waited for them to be about a mile or two ahead, got passed again, waited for them as well, then went 120 just like they were, watching out for bogeys everywhere.

Half hour later I see the first car pulled over. I stop for gas a 1/2 hour later (on the bike you're only going 100 miles per tank going over 100mph) and guess who pulls in seconds after I do? Captain Roadracer. He must have been in a hurry.

Anecdotally, a 96mph ticket was $276 in Texas. A 104mph ticket was $1071 in California. :twitch:

Edit; A good friend posits that going north to I40 is actually shorter. I don't know if that's true.

June 5th, 2019, 08:34 AM
Didn't realize you were in Dallas now! I'll likely head out next week and send you and Joe my contact if I'll be going by you guys.

I live in CA - I'm used to big states. :) It felt strange traveling down I-95 after getting the car and going through a bunch of states in a day.

I think in CA you also lose your license for over 100mph ticket.


Ordered my first mod for the BMW. A shift knob. :lol: When building the STX Z32 I spent a lot of time working on shift feel/quality, experimenting with different knobs and shift kit / bushings. I found that my preferred knob is leather and weighted. BMW knobs are a unique snap-in fitment (not threaded like Japanese cars) so my best option looks like an E46 ZHP knob (https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-Weighted-Leather-ZHP-Shift-Knob-25117896886-6-speed-/303173332232&sa=D&source=hangouts&ust=1559749588816000&usg=AFQjCNEHwyYWAkDSTKmvXYBYSN98G0yWdQ), which is... leather and weighted. It's also about 3/4" shorter than the stock E90 knob so it should feel like slightly shorter shifts, too. Compared to Japanese sports cars, the E90 shift throws are long, widely spaced, and a bit rubbery. It kind of reminds me of my Dad's old AE86 actually.

The downside to this knob is now I'm officially a poser. :p It has an ///M logo on it. Which is weird because it didn't come from an M car, but whatever.

Having the control interfaces feel direct, responsive, and linear is important to me. Next step will be to eliminate the very restrictive CDV (http://www.billswebspace.com/bmw36.jpg) (clutch delay valve), bleed the brakes (not sure if this will do anything but I'd like a little firmer pedal), and get a tune for more linear throttle response. I have to floor it to match revs on a downshift which is weird.

June 5th, 2019, 11:29 AM
Yeah. Driving in the east can mess with your mind when you cover several states in a few hours. Heck, we dove through three states in 45 minutes going to a Bobby McFerrin concert from Boston.

Yeah i moved to Dallas in July last year. Wanted to buy a house, and needed to move to somewhere I could do that on just my income. Loved LA and would move back in a heartbeat but the real estate picture there is woeful.

Let me know when you're passing through. I have a hankering to go to do the Tail Of The Dragon in North Carolina. And i seem to have a clean bill of health going by how I feel right now. I have a appt with the doctor to see if I need any more physical therapy. If im cleared I might head out there friday, do the damn thing and be back by Monday. Or I might wait and go during the week, I don't think I want to be there on the weekend.

8 won ate too one seven 9 to for cinco

June 5th, 2019, 11:46 AM
Oh, the license suspension isn't automatic for going over 100mph in Cali. They can do so on the spot though.

Clean record, current insurance and registration and license, not driving dangerously, where and what time the incident happened (mine was at 01:30 at night, on I10 westbound, just inside California, coming from Phoenix. Try that at 3 in the afternoon on the 405 and you're getting the entire judicial system thrown at you.) etc and you might skate. If you appear to be under the influence, are belligerent, bellicose, disrespectful, cocky, it's up to them.

I drove a standard Mercedes W124 E320. It wasn't a lowered, big wheels, big exhaust, all stickered up wanna be race car. I had turned down all the lights on the dash (I have a problem with glare in my right eye ever since a rugby incident when I was blind in one eye for six months in 2003.) was wearing sunglasses (yes, at night.) I apologised, explained (It probably helped that just my right eye was inflamed) and also explained that I really can't tell the speed between 40 and anything because the car is so quiet and planted.
He said he could take my license and I told him I was aware of that and that was his prerogative but I wasn't speeding because I was out getting my jollies, I was just trying to get home and I couldn't tell how fast I was going.

But yes, they can seize your car and/ or suspend your license on the spot (pending your appearing before a judge of course.) for going over 100.

June 8th, 2019, 11:04 AM
Slim chance I'll be in Texas when you're through, but I-10 is my corridor - would love to catch up if you're near! Congratulations. It's an incredible drive. I-10 lets you see the Texas scenery change from city to hills to limestone to desert.

June 10th, 2019, 07:03 AM
HK returns! Great to hear from you Adam.

A timeline is coming together for the trip, most likely leaving Miami area Thursday morning and getting home Sunday afternoon just in time to see my Dad for Fathers Day. I'll hash out the plan and update here.

June 11th, 2019, 09:28 AM
So T is coming with me for a few days of the trip. A little getaway for her. Plan is to book it to Biloxi and spend some time there Thursday night and Friday morning. Looks like a fun place. Then book it to somewhere around Gainesville or Wichita Falls for the night, then drop her off at Albuquerque airport on Saturday. I'll continue the rest of the way to make it home to see my Dad on Father's Day. So in the end, probably no time to detour or stop to catch up with any of you guys. T really needs the time off to relax and decompress.

June 11th, 2019, 11:49 AM
Biloxi. It's, yeah, Biloxi. ;)

June 11th, 2019, 06:20 PM
The weather is looking good in DFW, no chance of rain until Monday.

Gainesville, you taking the scenic route?

June 12th, 2019, 08:16 AM
I have a weird thing against tolls... grew up without them. If it's not too far out of the way to go around, often I will.

Nate - I'm guessing it beats Mobile? :lol:

June 12th, 2019, 08:22 AM
My experience in Biloxi is probably tainted by bad circumstance. I showed up for a conference and we got hit by a tropical storm that shut down our conference and confined us to the hotel. But, the hotel had a bar in it, so it wasn't all bad. ;)

June 12th, 2019, 09:25 AM
I'm looking forward to seeing a part of the country I haven't been to before. Once, back when I was cool, BFG invited me to the launch of the Rival tire at NOLA. I got sick and gave my spot to a good friend.

Little things the E90 does right: the fuel door is push-to-release, the backside of the cap has a spike that sits so easily in a hole inside the door, when done the door shuts very easily and when the car is locked the fuel door is locked. Much less fiddly than what I'm used to.

Little things the E90 does wrong: the steering wheel and shift knob have zero padding or give. Very hard control surfaces are much less comfortable than thicker leather or a smidge of padding.

June 12th, 2019, 01:34 PM
I have a weird thing against tolls... grew up without them. If it's not too far out of the way to go around, often I will.

Nate - I'm guessing it beats Mobile? :lol:

Your potential routes thru Dallas won't have toll roads. If your map/gps suggests George Bush Turnpike or the North Dallas Tollway it's getting a kickback from NTTA. Some roads do have 'express lanes' that are tolled (and are obscenely expensive during rush hours) but you can ignore them.

If you aren't going to get to US-80 & 635 by 3pm you might as well take the scenic route. Typical traffic on westbound 635 isn't bad but there's a 60% change there will be wreck, just for you, to screw things up.

I'd suggest I10/12 - I49 route instead of going north thru MS. I-20 in Louisiana is bad and in Shreveport it is terrible. While I10/12 are in good shape and I-49 is a mostly deserted road one can make good time on.

If you bypass DFW I'd stay on I-20 (Google suggest getting off way earlier) until US-69 (exit 556) I-20 is race track and if people are in a good mood and stay out the left lane one can keep it at 80-90.

June 17th, 2019, 03:14 PM
Good advice. Wish I had seen it before today. :lol:

I made a mistake in Louisiana from not looking at the map more closely beforehand. Typically, the major east-west interstates are the fastest most direct way to drive across the country. I-80, I-70, I-40. Apparently you don't want to stay on I-10 in LA. I-12 is where it's at. So in addition to taking the long way around, we got stuck in a big jam approaching Baton Rouge. From there we went up I-49 to Shreveport.

Google Maps had suggested "your route has tolls" if we were to go straight through Dallas. Getting through Texas was interchanges aplenty, so I had navigation actively running and set to avoid tolls. It took us from I-20 to US80, then 635 to 35E up to Denton. Somewhere on 635, I think, I began to realize Google Maps is not up to date in the area, suggesting lanes for interchanges that were no longer accurate. And when I took the ramp to 35E, there was an overhead toll photo bridge. Fuckers.

Also, worst drivers in the country now gets awarded to north Dallas travelers on 35E. Three times in <10 miles I had to put my abilities to the test to avoid having an accident with someone. They're crazy, stupid, or both. I probably ended up looking like the lunatic by swerving or panic stopping, but I was the safe lunatic. ;)

I don't know if the South is really for me, but I gotta say the friendliness and personable nature of a fair number of people there was disarmingly refreshing. That's gone almost everywhere else I've been. We need more of that in life.

June 17th, 2019, 04:14 PM
Well stated.

June 17th, 2019, 06:04 PM
Check out Missouri. Pretty decent hospitality here too.

June 17th, 2019, 06:22 PM
What kind of jerk would willingly go to Missouri on vacation?

June 17th, 2019, 06:54 PM
What kind of jerk would willingly go to Missouri on vacation?

There is that!

June 18th, 2019, 03:47 PM
Glad there were no 'big' issues.

When you got to I35E/PGB Turnpike you were a couple miles from thee house. https://goo.gl/maps/dHjALkFFaHJtxsD98

Yep you took exit 27A instead of 27B. 27B is the free exit.



Don't worry about the toll, last I heard you had to have a $10 bill before they bothered sending a bill.

Also, worst drivers in the country now gets awarded to north Dallas travelers on 35E. Three times in <10 miles I had to put my abilities to the test to avoid having an accident with someone. They're crazy, stupid, or both. I probably ended up looking like the lunatic by swerving or panic stopping, but I was the safe lunatic.

One gets used to it but that must be the reason the wife refuses to drive on a freeway when I'm not in the car.

June 18th, 2019, 04:27 PM
That's crazy. I definitely avoided any express lanes. Looks like 27A is a toll ramp and 27B is the free ramp. Never seen anything like that. I must have missed all of that sign as Google was telling me one thing and the road appeared to be something else. I do expect a bill, not having a TX plate or fast pass system on board.

One of these days I'm going to do a big road trip where I actually make time to stop more places along the way. I always seem to end up in efficiency mode, pushing to make progress with few pit stops.

A few more trip notes:

After over 4,000 miles it's home with ~102k on the clock and no CELs. *knock on wood* :)

Someone in Miami decided to throw a giant sugary coffee cup in the direction of the car. That was fun to clean off at the coin-op carwash. Miami classy as always.


I'll definitely attempt polishing the turn signal repeater to clear again.

Random gas stop in LA:


The ultimate end spot is in Gallup, NM:


Made it to my parents' place just in time for a Father's Day evening. Crazy sunset lighting.


June 19th, 2019, 08:54 AM
What kind of jerk would willingly go to Missouri on vacation?


June 19th, 2019, 08:36 PM
What kind of jerk would willingly go to Missouri on vacation?

A very special kind...

July 18th, 2019, 06:25 AM
The BMW battery died a couple weeks ago. Good timing that it lasted until after I got the car home, because it's not a simple job to replace. I had to watch a How-To video on YouTube to be confident in doing it, and it probably took me an hour to wrap up the replacement. Every little thing is so over-managed on this car. :) You even have to tell the computer that you've installed a new battery and what the Ah rating is (so the smart alternator gives it the correct charge rate/level). BMW dealers will do this for you as part of their Battery $ervice. But being a DIYer, I bought Carly instead which has already paid for itself in registering/coding the new battery and will also allow me to do other things with the car. For example I've already increased the DRL brigthness, turned off the daytime rear parking lights, and enabled a corrected digital speedometer in the dash display.

The old battery was the original, installed in Germany in fall of 2010, so nearly 9 years old and I can't complain about needing a new one by now.

For anyone who might need a battery, I'm not sure if it's nationwide but around here Pep Boys is running a special in July for 25% off batteries if you order online for in-store pickup. I used this as a good excuse to go ahead and replace the battery in the MR2 Turbo, which I've been nursing for probably a year. I did that replacement in 90 seconds in the Pep Boys parking lot. :p

I've been detailing the BMW in my spare time. Exterior is now paint corrected and polished, and man was that a ton of work. There were tons of scratches down the sides of the car, it sure looks like the car went through an automated car wash with some dirty/abrasive brushes. Next up for the exterior is filling in the chips, and then I can get to the interior - which is thankfully already pretty clean.


Some of the aluminum in the engine bay had light corrosion on it. I used Flitz Metal PreClean to improve on this before cleaning the rest of the engine bay:

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169509549/large.jpg https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169509553/large.jpg

A clean engine is a happy engine. And makes for a happy mechanic.

Lastly, the MR2 got out for some fun in the 100-degree sun:

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169517087/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/169517087/original)

The Yokohama A052s have tremendous longitudinal grip. On this old slippery asphalt I kept raising my launch RPM to keep from bogging down at the start. I ended up not far from the 6,000 RPM I used to use back in the days of Hoosiers on concrete. It's so much fun to launch this car on good tires and have to shift to 2nd gear in no time. The old girl still has it.

July 18th, 2019, 06:31 AM
Very cool, love that shade of blue and what you've done to bring it out.

July 18th, 2019, 06:38 PM
The BMW battery died a couple weeks ago. Good timing that it lasted until after I got the car home, because it's not a simple job to replace. I had to watch a How-To video on YouTube to be confident in doing it, and it probably took me an hour to wrap up the replacement. Every little thing is so over-managed on this car. :) You even have to tell the computer that you've installed a new battery and what the Ah rating is (so the smart alternator gives it the correct charge rate/level). BMW dealers will do this for you as part of their Battery $ervice. But being a DIYer, I bought Carly instead which has already paid for itself in registering/coding the new battery and will also allow me to do other things with the car. For example I've already increased the DRL brigthness, turned off the daytime rear parking lights, and enabled a corrected digital speedometer in the dash display.
VW does something similar in my GTI, in addition to using an odd size that isn't widely available in auto parts stores. However, other closely sized batteries can be made to fit. I'll probably buy the Rosstech VAG-COM to deal with things like this and customizing things or programming in things left out for the US market (like lowering all windows from the key fob).

August 8th, 2019, 09:49 AM

Are the 350s good to go for track work, or do they need oil coolers and whatnot?


August 8th, 2019, 01:18 PM
Unless you're doing really short sessions on a cold day on an easy track with minimal braking.... You're going to need an oil cooler, possibly a diff cooler, and upgraded brakes. Even the Brembos don't have enough thermal capacity for real track work, although I hear ducting helps them a fair bit.

That's a high-ish price for a DE but it does look like one of the nicer ones you'll find.

August 8th, 2019, 05:06 PM
C4 Vette, I'll show you a cheap track hero

August 8th, 2019, 05:20 PM
A Track Edition car has A/C?

Seems odd to me, but Im probably behind the times.

August 8th, 2019, 05:34 PM
Names don't mean much anymore to marketing departments.

Witness the dilution of the ///M brand.
"Sport" models of cars that are just graphics and spoilers and wheels.
Heck, Sport modes that do nothing more than make things louder and make the throttle response artificially sharp.

August 8th, 2019, 06:16 PM
A Track Edition car has A/C?

Seems odd to me, but Im probably behind the times.

Actual race cars have AC now. :)

August 8th, 2019, 06:27 PM
Names don't mean much anymore to marketing departments.

Witness the dilution of the ///M brand.
"Sport" models of cars that are just graphics and spoilers and wheels.
Heck, Sport modes that do nothing more than make things louder and make the throttle response artificially sharp.
IIRC, BMW and Audi have been doing M-Sport and S-Line packages that have primarily been about appearance for quite some time now.

My MK7.5 GTI's sport mode makes the fake intake noise speaker (SOUNDAKTOR!) louder. I could deactivate it and get an aftermarket intake for real interested noise, but most aftermarket GTI intakes have marginal gains at best without a downpipe and tune (and possibly a bigger turbo like the Golf R's IS38).

Well, it also stiffens up the electronic steering, increases throttle response, and if I had the active suspension and DSG, it would stiffen up the suspension and change the shift points.

I just leave it in Sport mode, which the thankfully lets me do without having to activate it every time I start the car. It's still like a Lexus compared to my old open intake, turbobacked, Mazdaspeed3 with aftermarket engine and trans mounts.

Mine is the Rabbit Edition, which besides the black spoiler, wheels, and mirror caps, let me get the better lighting and safety gizmos of the SE/Autobahn models without spending as much. I think Honda used to do something similar towards the end of model runs with "Special Edition" trims that slotted between an LX and EX.

September 9th, 2019, 09:10 AM
I am in love with the lighting system on my BMW. The just-right-color-temperature self-leveling xenons that turn with the wheel *and* illuminate additional side lights (including while in reverse gear), the courtesy lights underneath the doors and in the door handles themselves, the soft on/off to various lights. Even the shade of amber of the turn signals is better than other cars I've owned.

This is how BMW hooks its customers on its cars despite all their faults. Give them a feature so well thought out and executed, they don't want to live without it. I'm already thinking about an F30 next. :lol:

September 9th, 2019, 03:04 PM
My car has been out of commission since Friday because the light controller (a small computer bolted to the bottom of the headlight housing) which run the xenon's has malfunctioned, so be careful what you wish for. ;)


September 10th, 2019, 07:04 AM
It didn't take long for the Z4 to assume the Standard BMW Position. :lol:

Quick Jacks! Jelly. :)

Knock on wood my E90 has been good to me so far. All computers check out in Carly.

September 10th, 2019, 07:17 AM
Carly? That's almost too cute.

Ash tried to name the Z4 "Corky" the other day. I wasn't having it. :lol:

I'm happy you like the E90. As you know lots of people are gun-shy about out-of-warranty BMW ownership but I think it can be very rewarding.

September 11th, 2019, 08:05 AM
Carly is the app that interfaces with the car, lets me code some things and tells me secret BMW fault codes that a standard OBDII reader won't. :) The car itself doesn't really have a name, although I've been sometimes referring to it by its color - Tiefseeblau.

I've long been gun-shy about used German car ownership. So many cool cars I wanted but was nervous about owning after some research. I finally worked up the courage to try it. I do have a warranty for some things for a while longer (SULEV warranty covers a surprising amount of stuff), which is a little peace of mind. It also helps that I'm reasonably mechanically competent now - something I couldn't say six years ago. Credit the 300ZX with teaching me to dive in and figure stuff out.

September 11th, 2019, 08:08 AM
re: Carly; interesting. I'll have to look into it. Other than pulling codes with Torque I don't do much interfacing with systems. I've been considering buying a coding system because if you don't have a factory navigation unit it's tough to make changes to BMWs of that era.

The only BMW we had a warranty for was Ash's E60. It was fun being able to take it to the dealer and just drop it off for simple stuff like a sunroof being knocked off its track. Unfortunately it was out of warranty when the transfer case went.

You've jumped in pretty late. My BMW wrenching went from E24 to E36 to E46 and now E85. You jumped in behind me at E90. Good stuff. :)

September 11th, 2019, 08:22 AM
Carly is the cheapest "deep dive" BMW solution, short-term anyway (it's now an annual subscription pricing model). It doesn't give you control over absolutely everything like INPA or whatever it is, but it's a simple to use app that uses a proprietary bluetooth OBDII transmitter. I also considered Bimmerworks ProTools, a similar system, which I think can do a few more things. I forget why I didn't go with that. I'm not familiar with Torque.

September 11th, 2019, 08:41 AM
I use Torque to capture the track data for the videos I make. It's not as good as a true data system but for my puttering around it's nice. It works with any OBD-II Bluetooth reader which is nice. It looks like Carly needs a proprietary connector which is a bummer.

September 11th, 2019, 11:29 AM
Yep. The cheaper solution is INPA or NCS Expert (or both? I'm unclear on the differences) since all you need is a cable and free software but I understand both are not user friendly. App-based stuff is a lot simpler to use so I took the easy button. I was a little nervous about screwing something up with the wrong line of code I found somewhere on the internet... that said I may look into it anyway for a couple of things that Carly doesn't do. So maybe I wasted my money on Carly.

September 11th, 2019, 03:42 PM
You just have my interest piqued because the MINI has a digital speed reading and you said you got one in the E90. The Z4 and MINI have the same readout module, but in tbe Z4 it just shows what position the transmission is in. Not much value in that.

September 12th, 2019, 07:06 AM
Yeah not really. The only time I think a gear readout is useful is on flappy paddle gearboxes.

The E90 has a small display between gauges that can cycle through things like distance to empty, average speed/MPG, and if you go deeper, service checks and oil level and such. Coding the digital speedometer simply adds a page to cycle through on the "not so deep" level.

I spent 5 minutes Googling around and saw some reports of Z4s activating a digital speedo, but one pic showed gauges that looked more like an E90 and less like your car. Wonder if there was another reasonably significant update in the model run. As usual, concrete info is hard to come by in BMW world. :)

September 12th, 2019, 07:35 AM
If this wasn't nearly $400(!!!) I'd consider making my own:


It's just a digital gauge that reads off of OBDII PIDs.

This is my cluster:


If I could get that little "P" in the bottom center to read speed that would be super. There is already an LED indicator on the gear shifter housing itself so that piece is totally redundant unless you're using flappy paddles.

September 12th, 2019, 01:27 PM
I've considered getting the VW Golf/GTI version of that, but, I don't really feel the need to monitor my boost (I can check coolant and oil temp already) in an unmodified car, and I've got 1 more set of tires to buy this year.

October 7th, 2019, 07:11 AM
One of the drivers on Hyperdrive drove a nearly stock 350Z.....hint hint.....nudge nudge. :D

October 7th, 2019, 11:15 AM
Don't the cars get pretty beat up on that show? I haven't seen it.

Regardless, my garage is now Z-less. :(

October 7th, 2019, 12:58 PM
Do not bring a car you wouldn't put in a tandem drift competition to Hyperdrive.

October 16th, 2019, 09:51 PM
Today I discovered three dimes and a mystery nylock nut under the driver's seat.


The nut doesn't appear to go anywhere under the seat, and to be honest I'm not entirely sure it belongs on the car. I have yet to see hardware of this style on this car.

One of these days I'll get around to cleaning the interior and trying to fix whatever is keeping the power seat from lowering its height (it'll go up but never down). I've also discovered that the air bladders in the side bolsters have a slow leak, but given how difficult the fix must be to accomplish I think I'll live with it. The leather is in remarkable shape for its age and I've heard it's a pain to remove and re-install the cover anyway.

Nate - last weekend I had a local car guy (and former BMW tech) ask me if my headlight actuator system had failed yet. Looks like I'll have to brace myself for that.

October 17th, 2019, 04:37 AM
I haven't heard of that particular failure. My issue was with the light control module which simply caused the light not to turn on.

November 15th, 2019, 07:19 AM
Finally cleaned the driver's seat (the rest of them look pretty good, guessing they weren't used much).

It was my first time trying the Sonax leather care kit and I'm pleased with the effort and results. :) https://www.autogeek.net/sonax-premium-leather-kit.html#



Nevermind the bad low light cell phone pics.

November 15th, 2019, 07:32 AM
Looks great, perfect color for that treatment.

December 2nd, 2019, 07:41 PM
Cyber Monday Binge at FCP Euro:

- OEM water pump replacement kit (my 100k-mile pump is overdue for replacement, but remarkably is till ticking along just fine when the internet says it should have left the car stranded years ago).

- Bilstein B4 dampers, plus all the associated OEM mounts and bump stops. If this doesn't fix the occasional slop/wallow of the suspension, it's bushings for sure. Forum reports tend to agree the stock dampers are well past their prime by 100k.

Merry Christmas to my BMW. :lol:

December 3rd, 2019, 05:40 AM
Nice. BimmerWorld had a big sale too. Wish I was ready to purchase go fast parts parts but that's not happening until it gets sent to the cage fabricator.

December 3rd, 2019, 06:20 PM
I was this close to throwing an Eibach front sway bar into my cart, too, since it's so cheap. I wonder if the "pull the alignment pin" trick for more negative camber works on these cars like it does some other BMWs...

Speaking of water pumps, I was thumbing through old receipts from prior owners of my MR2T today and started getting all nostalgic for the old days. In 2001 a water pump direct from TRD was $47. Today it's triple that at the discount online dealers.

February 4th, 2020, 10:57 PM
The oil that was put in by the BMW specialist shop in PA...


...it's fiery red. Crazy.

Also crazy that I had to buy a special tool to change the oil filter. I guess anyone who knows German cars wouldn't be surprised. :lol:

February 5th, 2020, 05:18 AM
36mm socket?

February 5th, 2020, 09:26 AM
I think it's 86mm and 16 sides.

February 5th, 2020, 09:58 AM
Ah, okay. Our (E36/E46/E85) casing is the same size, but there is a 36mm plastic hex on the top that spins the cover off. I might have one of those 86mm for the MINI, though. I own one but I can't recall why.

February 24th, 2020, 06:07 PM
Have you autocrossed or tracked the E90 at all?

February 24th, 2020, 07:27 PM
I haven't. I think if it had LSD I might consider autox with it just for kicks. For track use it'd need an oil cooler, and maybe some uprated pads on top of hi-temp fluid. I'm going through a lean income time right now so I'm being really frugal. It stinks not having an autox/track car around! :) I keep wanting a Spyder but they just never get cheap enough, other than for a brief time a year ago. Tried to jump then but the seller never got back to me on a car I wanted.

April 3rd, 2020, 07:17 PM
It has been pretty quiet in my garage for a while. In a way that's good - nothing is breaking! But it's so weird and boring not doing much of anything with cars. I replaced some suspension parts on my Mom's Camry a couple weeks ago and detailed it, and that has been it.

The E90 has been amazing in a lot of ways. I think I got a really good one. When I've been working hard and my low back starts to get tired/sore, just sitting in the BMW for a little while is such relief. The seats are glorious, really. Like I've mentioned before there are so many cool features of this car that makes me not want to be without them in future daily drivers. In that way BMW has me hooked. It's extremely competent and smart. (Not marketing-speak "smart.") I really like the color combo.

Overall, though, it seems to be too boring. For the first time in my life I'm driving an anonymous car that isn't really an enthusiast choice. My instinct is to wave or thumbs up another sports car or interesting car on the road, but now I hold back, feeling like an imposter since nobody can tell I'm in the manual sport package RWD version. It's like it's too subtle. It's not a vanity thing, it's more like that experience of being an enthusiast every day is missing for me now. This leads me to thoughts of a different BMW (I know, already :lol:). The E9x M3 is the obvious choice and although they're getting cheaper (mid to high 20s for a ZCP) they're not a wise financial reality for me. The 135i might fill that gap, and some of them are not terribly expensive, but an N55-powered one would be my choice and those are a bit more ($14k perhaps). I'm not ready to buy anything, just thinking about the future. The 135i is still missing LSD, crucially, but at least would be more fun on the street. My 328i feels a little bit too heavy, and the 1-series isn't that much lighter but every bit should help. On the downside I'd give up a little bit of luxury inside with the 1-series.

Looks like I never posted about the new struts here. The fronts were stubborn (the springs were wound so strangely that I had to take them to a shop to compress them and put them on the new struts) but worth it in the end. The ride is *much* more controlled and I no longer feel that much lateral movement over bumps. It's firmer without being harsh, a great thing. The old dead struts were so soft the car just wallowed around like a 70s Cadillac. :lol: I went ahead and pulled out the alignment pins at the same time to get that extra 0.3* (or whatever it is) of negative camber. Because of that and the higher front ride height from the new not-collapsed front strut mounts, the car needs an alignment. I hadn't planned on going very far for a while this spring so I put that off to wait for the new strut mounts to settle a little bit. Now of course I don't want to take it to a shop for obvious reasons. Good times.

September 14th, 2020, 09:10 PM
Bit of a post-summer update (the smoke has made temperatures drop prematurely!).


After 28 years the foam seal that keeps dust/debris from crossing between the footwell and frunk crumbled. This goes around the steering shaft and leaves a surprisingly large hole. It's one of the few parts still available new for these cars. I replaced it, with several moments of akward body contortions and removing a length of steering shaft. Hoping for another 28 years at least!



I autocrossed the car for the first time this year, the second time on 200TW tires. It did better than expected. I figured the slow tight course on the small local lot we have would be a bigger disadvantage for the early 90s style turbo lag where nothing happens, ever, below 3500rpm or so in 2nd gear. Other than that it's still a super fun car to autocross. Every time I do it (about once a year) I keep getting reminded after the first run that you have to drive this car through the course. You gotta work for it. It's more physical than most cars, mostly because of the slow steering combined with short wheelbase and eagerness to change direction. In a way modern cars are too good these days.

What are the odds my bright orange numbers would match a factory painted car? (I noticed my crooked letters and fixed them later!)

One of these days I'll get that exhaust replaced. It has a hole where the hangar attachment broke off, and as such it sags, and the tip finish has definitely seen better days. I think I'd like something with dual outlet to visually fill the space on the other side of the car, but all of those are either too quiet (Fujitsubo Legalis R) or look very boy-racer and are not technically by-the-book here (Berk, TKO). I actually have a Berk brand new in box sitting in my closet for a couple years now. I bought it and then got pulled over and given the royal F-U by the govt in the blue Z for the tiniest of technicalities, so I kinda got scared off of that path. GReddy just released a new Evolution GT exhaust for the MR2 which looks pretty good and sounds nice from the one clip I've found, if a bit farty at low RPM. But $600+ seems like a lot for a car I drive rarely, with so many other more important expenses piling up. So nothing ever gets put on the car. :lol:


The launch might be my favorite part. :devil: This thing launches so, so well. It's in boost as soon as you take off (I'm surprised about this, I wouldn't figure free revving would create enough boost) and first gear is dispatched in no time. Whee! Video doesn't do it justice at all.


A vacuum hose that controls the idle circuit kept popping off every run, resulting in a high idle. Easy enough fix when I get around to it. I think the hose is just stretched out at that end, a new hose should fix it.

Speaking of mid-engined cars, I think I only posted this on IG but I got the chance to do some track sessions in this bad boy earlier this summer. :cool: Doing coilover development work. Not a bad day at the office!


September 15th, 2020, 02:32 AM
Did you ever get the headlight circuit trouble figured out?

September 15th, 2020, 09:13 AM
The random pop-em-up pop-em-down issue when turning them on or off? I replaced the headlight control relay box years ago and that fixed it. I still have the old relay just in case I want that party trick for whatever reason. :lol: It's easy to replace.

September 15th, 2020, 12:21 PM
Don't let Keith know you got to drive a C8.

September 15th, 2020, 01:42 PM
Don't let Keith know you got paid to drive a C8.

There, fix'd.

September 19th, 2020, 09:02 PM
I spotted that when it was posted on Instagram :)

September 22nd, 2020, 08:19 PM
There's in-car video out there somewhere, I don't know if it will ever get published. It's not anything super special as I wasn't going for the fastest lap and we were on street tires. But it was fun anyway. :)

The track is a bit less than 2 hours from home and I took the comfy cruiser there. One of the KW employees has an M3 sedan, so this quick photo op seemed the right thing to do. ;) It's pretty amazing how the handful of mostly subtle styling changes combine to make the M3 look so much more sporty than its plebeian root form.

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/171061236/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/171061236/original)

This'll do as a transition for the long overdue BMW update:

In June I planned a cross country road trip as the safest way I could figure to go see T. Packed all my own food, slept overnight in the back seat at rest stops, but of course had to use public restrooms (had a strategy for that too with sanitizer and masks of course). A couple weeks before the trip the car started making a noise I felt uneasy about but I didn't know what it was. I had the general idea/area down fairly quickly (as it turned out - I wasn't so sure at the time) but it took a good while to track down the actual culprit. Long story short it was the alternator pulley, some kind of special clutched overrun pulley. In the process I replaced the idler pulley, tensioner, and drive belt. The tensioner was making noise but wasn't the 'bad' noise I was chasing. The tensioner was a BMW replacement part and only had something like 20k miles on it, but it was looking a little wobbly and they're a weak point in the car, so I replaced it again. Anyway I was fortunate the noise wasn't an expensive fix, as the alternator pulley is available separately and the alternators for these cars are not cheap. I did, though, have to buy a special tool just for this alternator pulley removal/installation job. German car life. :)

Fan removal is required to have space to replace drive belt parts. I was amazed with all the modern manufacturing techniques to see old fashioned weights on a couple of the fan blades.

While I had the front in the air I took the opportunity to clean off the old dried wax from the underside of the air dam. Weird.

Back to the alternator pulley. The new one had taken a fall somewhere and was unprotected inside the box so it was bent on the end. I didn't have time to wait for another one to come in covid-delayed mail. So I spent a long time that night with pliers and whatever else I could find and bent the outer ring back into place, more or less. There wasn't much material to work with. Unfixed, it would have likely contacted the edge of the belt on every revolution. This fix felt jankier than I like, but I think it functions fine.

3612 3613

Problem solved, it was time to hit the road. I like a good road trip now and again. I always wish I had more time, though, to stop and see things/people along the way. But as usual I was on a mission. And going east is tougher because you lose an hour each day. My longest day was around 16.5 hours behind the wheel.

Tape job still looking fresh in Williams, AZ, Gateway To The Grand Canyon (one day I'll stop and see it!).

The second night, driving though Louisiana I was treated to the craziest light show I've ever seen. We don't get lightning like this in CA. Not even close. This short video (https://photos.app.goo.gl/TJxW9oWX5hRP17qj9), taken with my phone on its mount, is only a small taste of the awe-inspiring lightning. It went on for probably a couple hours at least, with varying amounts of rain. The lightning was lighting up the entire sky (and surroundings) every few seconds the whole time. It was awe-inspiring. Video does it no justice.

At the Louisiana rest stop, I saw the tape was still more or less holding up somehow.

The car made the trip to FL and eventually back home with no problems. I had a new water pump, thermostat, lots of special tools (torxes and whatnot) and the old drive belt in the trunk just in case. Taking no chances with 100k-mile German car ownership. ;)

It is, as you'd expect, a killer road trip car. The only complaint was my MPG average was just shy of 29, I'd have thought a 3.0L SULEV engine could break 30. I blame all those tiny Texas ghost towns with 25mph speed limits and/or traffic signals that pepper the state. :p

September 23rd, 2020, 02:13 AM
Nicely done on the fix and the drive :up: I hate driving in those kinds of storms, but I can see draw of having a dry seat for nature's fireworks.

September 23rd, 2020, 09:10 AM
Why do you hate them? I know I'd not enjoy them if there was a lot of traffic. In this case there was hardly any.

September 24th, 2020, 07:23 AM
Whoa, a painter's tape bra? I haven't seen one of those before. Pretty cool.

September 24th, 2020, 08:34 AM
Why do you hate them? I know I'd not enjoy them if there was a lot of traffic. In this case there was hardly any.

Hydroplaning, random deep puddles that will try to rip the steering wheel away, the wrecks they cause which then cause traffic.

September 24th, 2020, 11:53 AM
Ummmm....hydroplaning doesn't rip the wheel out of your hand...

September 25th, 2020, 03:27 AM
That's why I put commas in between the items, they are different things.

September 25th, 2020, 08:51 AM
I'd have been much more sketched out if I was on balding tires and/or in traffic, that's for sure. The Michelin A/S 3s did great. Also the ESC/TC seems pretty darn good on this car in when and how it engages. I was still one of the slowest of the few vehicles I ran across during that storm.

October 3rd, 2020, 10:30 PM
This happened a couple weeks ago, only now posting.

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/171061230/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/171061230/original) https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/171061231/large.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/171061231/original)

I decided to take the 328i to an autocross anyway. I expected mostly varying degrees of understeer, with some one tire fire for good measure. I got the latter, but I also had plenty of rotation in various corner phases, too, which was shocking (in a refreshing way). For a stock 2011 sedan with the only real mod being removed camber pins, I'm very surprised it does anything other than understeer.. Tires are stock staggered sizes but are Michelin A/S 3s (non run flats). I could actually get some corner entry oversteer if I trailed it in. In a hard transition I could get the nose to hook and the car would rotate in an ideal way - I just had to be careful getting on the throttle then because the car was already in a neutral state and throttle would just promote that awkward kind of open-diff oversteer.

I'm actually really miffed my camera managed only to record one out of 7 runs, and it was the most boring run of them all. The others had more fun 4-wheel-drifty moments. This run I was actually trying to put a time down and driving in a way to promote more stability. It wasn't faster, so I should have just stuck to having fun. :p Every run except this one I was backing it in to the finish lights.

[And yeah it's way too quiet - curse the all-welded exhaust that discourages reversible modification]

Prior to this event I had located (but not yet procured) an E93 M3 front bar and although I don't plan to campaign the car seriously, based on that first autox experience I'm starting to think the ~15% stiffer M3 bar might not help enough. It turns out the seller ghosted me (*after* we had agreed on a price and I asked for his PayPal! :thppt:) so I ended up getting an H&R bar overnight from TireRack. Much stiffer than the M3 bar. We'll see how it does. It's not adjustable and has no locking collars which isn't great (the picture showed locking collars). I didn't feel like spending $600+ on a nice Dinan bar though. :) One neat feature of the H&R - teflon coated bushings that require no lube.

October 4th, 2020, 07:33 PM
That's great. They do make a nicely balanced car across the model line. :up:

January 1st, 2021, 01:25 PM
Have you autocrossed or tracked the E90 at all?

And now it has done both. :lol: I needed to track it for reasons related to work in my field, as I didn't have another car suitable for the job, so I did some prep to it a couple weeks ago.

The front pads are the same as an E9x M3. Shocking. I am not sure if this is only for Sport package cars like mine or if that's true across all E9x 3-series. I spoke with Sam Strano about pad options since I've been out of the track-my-own-car game for so long. He's big on Raybestos ST43 but availability for my car was a problem, so we had to look elsewhere. Hawk DTC-60s were available for the front and there was one set of HT-10s for the rear in the country. They're close enough in temperature profile and characteristics to work together well. I guess no DTC-60s for the rear or HT-10s for the front. It seems my rear pad size is unusual. Anyway Hawk dropped the ball on the rears for weeks so we had to punt at the 11th hour for the rear pads. Porterfield, down in SoCal, custom-cut a set of R4 pads and shipped them overnight. Good on them! I have had Porterfield R4-S pads on my MR2 Turbo for ages and they're great. The rushed rear BMW pads didn't have a provision to clip on the brake pad wear sensor, so I carefully zip-tied it out of the way on a brake hard line, where it wouldn't get stretched or hit no matter how much the suspension moved around.

I replaced the stock fluid with Redline RL-600. Again I'm so stuck in the past, brake fluid is always red/amber except for ATE SuperBlue, now discontinued. So I was surprised to see the BMW OEM fluid was pee yellow, and the Redline is clear. Whoah. In Covid isolation my only bleeding method was a Mityvac vacuum hand pump. It took ages and was cumbersome but it did work. I much prefer the SpeedBleeder method with my MR2.

The H&R front bar has been on the car for a little while now. It's great. Tightened up the front end just enough, with no ride quality penalty in my view. And obviously now the car has less body roll and is quicker to respond in transitions.

A couple weeks ago I installed M3 front control arms. They give a bit more negative camber (a degree or so? I forget) and have firmer bushings including a spherical in place of a bushing at the inboard mounting location for the main lower control arm. Super cool stuff. Love the better feel from the firmer bushings. The mush is slowly being dialed out of the car, and it still rides superbly. :up:

Doing the control arms meant I'd need to re-align the toe for sure. My front tie rods have been seized together for a while now. It was fine before because my alignment was fine, but now I knew it wouldn't be. So I installed new tie rod assemblies as well. Getting the inners off of the steering rack was super hard, it took all my strength. You need something like a 36mm wrench. Once they were replaced I aligned the front end using my toe plates. The short front overhang and normal ride height meant I didn't have to jack the car up to make toe adjustments, and that saved a lot of time. I still need to tweak the toe a little bit but it's very close.

My rear tires were worn out pretty quickly, so I suspect shenanigans under load back there. Static toe is fine and well within factory specifications. I haven't aligned the rear yet myself, I think that will be harder to get right at home because of the methods involved. The rear subframe and control arm bushings allow so much lateral movement back there, and I work the suspension harder than the average non-M 3-series owner, so my current theory is excessive toe change dynamically. I have Whiteline rear subframe bushing inserts ready to go in. They should firm up the locating of the rear suspension a fair bit. There's way too much void area in the stock bushings!

Photo of the now fully refreshed front end.


Since the car was in the air I took this time to replace the CDV (clutch delay valve) in the line to the slave cylinder. I hate CDVs but OEMs love them now for some reason. I replaced it with the M3 part which doesn't have the flow restriction. I bled the system afterwards since you lose some fluid in the process. I did it wrong at first, because the clutch hydraulics share the master cylinder reservoir for the brakes but I wasn't aware there was a separate partition within the MC reservoir for the clutch. So the main level wasn't going down but this hidden partition, a very small section, was going down super fast and I started sucking air through the system. Bah. Once I figured that out I had to spend a lot more time bleeding because I had introduced air to the system. But I got the clutch pedal back after a while.

Reports on the internet say the CDV delete makes a big difference for clutch feel, shifting smoothly, and a sense of connection. It made virtually no difference for me, it's still vague and mushy with its engagement. I imagine it's possible there's still a bit of air in the system, but the feel and pickup point are consistent so I'm not sure. I fear it may be a clutch disc nearing the end of its life. I don't think there's an inspection plate to remove, so if I remove the transmission to inspect it I might as well just replace the clutch. Which is expensive and extra complex, of course. :) And I believe the flywheel is a non-serviceable dual-mass flywheel, which is also expensive. So yeah, this one has me concerned.

Replaced a slowly leaking seal on top of the valve cover for the eccentric shaft sensor electrical connector. Easy job.

Went ahead and replaced the spark plugs since they're due soon. I expected to feel a difference or see a MPG increase, but I didn't. At least I know they're good for another 60k.

Obviously put fresh oil in the car, something that would stand up to high temperatures with plenty of protection (lots of ZDDP) and no or minimal shear (ester based). Redline motor oil is expensive but good insurance especially without an oil cooler.

All went well at the track, except for the cracked front rotor hat. That was something I've never seen before. Overnight temps did get below freezing but I figure that was a gradual cool down and that shouldn't have temperature-shocked the metal, but I'm no metallurgist. The crack hasn't grown but I should probably replace that rotor.


January 1st, 2021, 07:14 PM
So, dual mass flywheels can be resurfaced, but you need to Have a shop that knows what they are doing.

Check with the racers market in Cumming, Ga as they have a shop that is experienced with that sort of thing.

June 12th, 2021, 09:28 AM
It's been too quiet in my garage. Too boring. Monday I'm bringing a trailer to add some spice around here. :cool:

[No it's not a Cayenne :lol:]

I keep putting miles and miles on the BMW and it keeps ticking along great. Clutch still feels the same, so probably good news it hasn't gotten worse and it's probably me expecting too much of a direct sports car clutch feel. But I have a bug to replace it with a G35/G37 6MT sedan again. If I can find the right one.

June 12th, 2021, 05:58 PM
Spice you say? (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spice_Engineering)

June 12th, 2021, 07:52 PM
Make Russ an offer on his MR2. ;)

June 13th, 2021, 08:38 AM
Is it for sale? :)

Good call Rikadyn! Too rich for my blood.

June 13th, 2021, 02:05 PM
Is it for sale? :)

Maybe. It's been on jackstands for a few months waiting for a new clutch, and I'm feeling grumpy about cars in general again (it's a cyclic thing). I'll let you know.

June 13th, 2021, 04:20 PM
Dang. At home clutch job sounds like no fun for sure. If you tire of it and want rid of it, it's my favorite color Spyder by a long shot so there's a slight chance I might make a dumb call on it. :lol:

June 13th, 2021, 05:18 PM
It is a really gorgeous color.

June 13th, 2021, 05:37 PM
I hear they make good track cars.

June 13th, 2021, 08:03 PM
My friend is in the process of dropping a K20 & Honda 6 speed into his one, and building a dedicated track car.

June 13th, 2021, 08:56 PM
Yeah, the K20 swap solves a number of drivetrain issues that are annoying/expensive with the 1ZZ (and the popular 2ZZ swap).

The 2GR swap solves the "but the K20 is so sloowwww" *cough* "problem." :devil: Particularly if you strap a couple hairdryers to it.


Rare White Ape
June 13th, 2021, 10:27 PM
This talk of ridiculously powerful MR2s is stirring naughty things in my underpants.

June 14th, 2021, 06:10 PM
Now *that's* spicy! I've seen a different video of that car before. It's so good, seems really well done from what they showed.

K20/24 is kind of the answer in lighter cars in many ways. The state of CA likely hates that swap, but they hate everything. :lol: Videos of K-swapped Spyders are also really interesting. The high pitched Honda scream in a compact RWD chassis that can put power down well? Sign me the eff up!

No spice for me today. I couldn't get the trailer lights to work with my Dad's truck even though the connector is a match, so the trailer stayed put at my friend's house. I may see if the local UHaul rental store might let me test if my lights work with their trailers.

June 14th, 2021, 08:35 PM
K20 swap is possible within the constraints of CA smog, fwiw.

June 15th, 2021, 08:54 AM
I remember looking into it a while back. I recall one of the hurdles was RSX exhaust manifold clearance with the MR-S subframe, but I was pretty confident about a couple of workarounds that would be legal.

Then I heard that one car has a returnless fuel system and the other car has a return system, and that CA required a full conversion to the donor engine's fueling system, meaning an RSX entire fuel tank/pump/etc would have to go in an MR-S... That's when I gave up on the idea. I'd love for that info to be wrong.

I'm not actually sure if I'd prefer a 2ZZ over a 1ZZ in a Spyder. The 1ZZ is at least linear and has a characterful exhaust note that I enjoy (yes I'm weird, I also loooved the straight piped 5SFE SW20s!). The narrow powerband of the 2ZZ with gearing that is too wide to stay in the hot cam all the time has always bugged me in principle. Never driven a 2ZZ though, outside of an Elise.

June 15th, 2021, 09:07 AM
Yeah, I think Tony is running an aftermarket ECU (and 6-speed?) to get around the hot cam issue in his track car. Main issue with the 2ZZ is that they seem to have oiling issues (and weak cams), which is non-ideal for track cars.

June 15th, 2021, 09:10 AM
My ideal MR-2 is still a 2nd Gen with some engine that revs (like a K20). Was the most disappointing part about the car I test drove back in the day...

June 15th, 2021, 11:44 AM
Hard to get a lot of revs from a 2GR from what I hear, but the big flat torque curve seems fun. VQ35HR would be tons of fun (7500rpm stock) but I don't know of a FWD application for that variety of VQ and I'm sure there would be plenty of hurdles.

The lightest ES SW20s back in the day were about 2400lbs IIRC. Hardtop, no AC, no wing, straight pipe, 9lb Volks, light Hoosiers, etc.

June 23rd, 2021, 12:29 PM
Target acquired!


Big surprise, it's an MR2. :p


Every car that enters my driveway must first pass this clearance test with no angle. I usually angle out so that gives me a safety margin.

Making an SW20 look a little chunky. :lol:

It's definitely a project car. It hasn't been registered in a couple years, it needs a new top, the engine burns oil, various bits are missing, it's filthy and it came with a box of parts, etc. But it starts and runs, and it's mine! Eventual autox and hopefully track toy. It'll be a long term slow project unless cash flow improves. It does have some goodies: aluminum underbody bracing, rebuilt brakes with new pads and slotted rotors, Kosei K1 wheels in probably 15x7 (so classic!), good tires, a Team Moon exhaust (not on the car), a fresh windshield and a spare set of stock wheels. Oh, and it's on coilovers. Tein HA which is pretty old school and basic, so those may get changed out depending on what I think of them.

It isn't blue though. :random:

June 23rd, 2021, 12:35 PM
This makes it 6 MR2s that I've owned. It's my first one in 15 years (I bought the grey Turbo in 2006). The Spyder now means I have owned every variety (chassis and engine) of MR2 sold in the US. I've wanted to do this for a long long time!

I'll sort through it slowly but surely. It'll be a fun autox toy, probably an occasional track car once I get a roll bar in it, and someday it'll likely get an engine swap. When it first got on my radar I was thinking to run it in E Street (stock class) autox for a year or two first, but this one is probably too far modified to make it an easy conversion to ES so I think I may just run it as is for funsies instead of serious competition.

Don't let the bumper and taillights fool you, it's a 2000 model year.

June 23rd, 2021, 03:35 PM
Nice grab!

Which reminds me of... :popcorn:

June 24th, 2021, 11:02 AM
This is going to be fun to watch. :)

MR2 Fan
June 24th, 2021, 12:30 PM
nice. I've owned a Spyder before, the most beautiful car? no, but super lightweight and nimble with some good engine options, poor man's Lotus Elise

July 15th, 2021, 11:53 AM
Nice grab!

Which reminds me of... :popcorn:
It's not a substitute for living right. :) But it's a little spark of joy/distraction. I wasn't looking for a car (everything's expensive now) but this rough car literally fell into my lap and I couldn't not get it.

This is going to be fun to watch. :)
This is one of those cars I wish I just had 10-15k lying around for to do it right and do it in a short time. :) Hopefully in another couple months it'll at least be a decent driver, maybe another 1-5 years for an engine swap, we'll see how things go. I am connecting with some local-ish Spyder owners and finding they like to have parts around that they're not using, so I'm finding deals on some things. :cool: Like some stock springs with Koni struts. The TEINs on this car were fine for their day but their rates are pretty stiff and the damping curves aren't digressive enough for my taste, so the ride is tolerable but busy. It also scrapes over speedbumps (long wheelbase for the size of the car!). OEM springs and Konis will be a quick fix until I can get proper coilovers with higher end damping some day.

nice. I've owned a Spyder before, the most beautiful car? no, but super lightweight and nimble with some good engine options, poor man's Lotus Elise

I learned an important lesson for myself when I was 18. I was driving the Cuda and got a cheap AW11 for autox. I didn't care for the AW11 styling but right away the car won me over with how it drove and how non-finicky it was. It was then I realized the driving experience was far more important than looks to me.

And yeah, the Spyder is a totally-under-the-radar car as far as potential, until the last 3-5 years. Now people are realizing what the chassis is capable of when modded. I was singing this song when the cars were new but nobody was interested. Until somebody K-swapped one, probably. :p

My sister owns a '97 Miata, her bf has an Elise. Someday it would be fun to get all our superlight open top cars together.

July 15th, 2021, 12:23 PM
The problem with being under the radar for potential is that nobody made anything for it--or maybe they did, but they don't any more 20 years later :|. Tony's been homebrewing so much stuff for his car (RIP).

July 15th, 2021, 12:25 PM
It's smogged and registered! (https://photos.app.goo.gl/yHgTKcHarfEKhYfz7) Axle shenanigans delayed me quite a bit (a boot was split open, the axle was stuck to the hub, and a toe link stuck to the hub, so I had to remove a lot of stuff and then the NAPA boot didn't fit well enough so I had to do it all over again with the Toyota part). I'm also constantly finding missing parts - clips, bolts, covers, etc. Fortunately Toyota seems to still have these and isn't charging a lot.

Spent an entire day degreasing the engine and underside by hand. Layers upon layers... wow. Before (https://photos.app.goo.gl/1dWytq1A5cwAF4r3A). After (https://photos.app.goo.gl/mv6anK5qjqt1aBkv8).

Took care of the precats (they were starting to fail) and got fresh gaskets for the exhaust manifold.

Went to inspect the spark plugs and found them sitting in rusty water. Had to clean that up first of course with a combination of screwdriver, shop towels, and shop vac with a couple narrow adapters. The plugs (https://photos.app.goo.gl/omgS4s3XAGsdPgGGA). :eek: The car idled just fine with them. Needless to say they've been replaced. Notice two of them are missing their washers. They were stuck in the head, crushed in there good. I had to get creative to get them out without dropping anything into the combustion chambers. Tools of the trade (https://photos.app.goo.gl/UbeBNBZS8nhH9WTR8). Split/distorted the washer with a chisel in order to get purchase on a part of it and release its hold (https://photos.app.goo.gl/gNDndXF8tbfZzzRdA).

In general I've used a hammer on this car more than I have on anything else I've owned already. :lol:

Discovered the bottom bolts that hold the rear calipers in place were missing on each side. Sketch level 9000 when I used zip tie and a totally incorrect bolt (with the right thread pitch/diameter) to hold the calipers in place while I did OBD2 drive cycle procedures to prepare for smog.

Replaced the transmission fluid (with MT90 of course) since I had the axle out. This car has a fill hole at the top of the trans! (https://photos.app.goo.gl/2SEKvunioFQUE8JdA) So nice not to have to lay under the car and use a hand pump.

Removed a short shifter that had too much play (a faulty/careless design) and put the stock shifter in. Much better!

Replaced the LED headlight bulbs (which flickered in this car and aren't legal for the housings anyway) with good ol' H4s.

One handbrake cable is seized and the fuel tank has to be lowered to replace it. I just disconnected the cable at the caliper end for now. Looks like I'll have to replace or at least clean out the fuel filler vent tube too (the gas pump is constantly shutting off, takes forever to fill the tank). And roll bar installation requires lowering the fuel tank too. So I'll probably do that all at once. Roll bar shopping soon...

So I have 3 cars and the Spyder has the best in-gear acceleration below 3k RPM out of all of them. :lol: It's sure eager to go for a slow car. Add lightness...

I still need a name for it other than "the Spyder" or "the white car."

Eventually when it's a track car I want to do something unique with the look, and I have an idea in mind. White is my least favorite color on these cars but I think this might make it look alright. :) Inspiration (https://www.car-revs-daily.com/wp-content/uploads/old/Car-Revs-Daily.com-1992-AAR-Toyota-Eagle-Mk-III-GTP-Brings-1M-At-Gooding-Pebble-Beach-2014-1.jpg).

July 15th, 2021, 12:29 PM
Love the before/after of the underside. I've been pressure washing stuff before putting the E46 back together and it has been satisfying.

July 15th, 2021, 06:40 PM
It was then I realized the driving experience was far more important than looks to me.

I say get both!

July 16th, 2021, 08:34 AM
If you can swing it why not!

July 16th, 2021, 03:08 PM
My white car is named Lunaire.

July 19th, 2021, 12:01 AM
Tomorrow, I shall be a fellow Toyota MR-S / Spyder owner. What have I done ....

July 19th, 2021, 09:36 AM
Seen the light, my friend. Through the soft top from the sounds of it, but still... :lol:

July 19th, 2021, 10:31 PM
Soft top doesn't look terrible, but the drains seem to be blocked. So the car is home, in the garage, with a heater running in the footwell. I've scooped some muck out of the drains for a start, but now I'm out of time.

August 24th, 2021, 05:29 PM
Progress has been slow between the relentless summer heat, race travel here and there, and hiking some weekends.

Off the top of my head mostly what I've done is take apart the front end and clean all the dirt and crud out of there, replace the condenser (which didn't fit quite right, stack of washers to the rescue), and wetsand / polish / re-clear the headlights while they're out.

3808 3809 3810 3811

In the process I discovered the car is missing the washer bottle and pump, as well as the bulbs and wiring subharnesses for the side repeaters in the bumper.

Oh and I removed the ricey red covers off the nicely loud Hella horns. :lol:

Next steps are to take it to a shop to get the AC system properly evacuated and charged, and raise the ride height until I put in the stock springs and Koni struts. I need to replace the bumpstops on that set I just acquired since they're mostly shot. Which means it's dreaded spring compressor time...

August 25th, 2021, 05:23 AM
Looks like you are missing an engine as well......

August 25th, 2021, 05:33 AM
Have you had a good experience with headlight restoration in the past? I've done that before and it re-yellows in a few weeks.

August 25th, 2021, 08:30 AM
Yeah, what's a good brand/product to use to restore a lasting clear look?

I'm currently thinking of restoring one of our cars... my own research shows Meguiar's has a coating to help protect and another 2 step restoration kit that seem decent, but just wondering what you're using.

August 25th, 2021, 04:57 PM
Typically I do get yellowing again on headlights after a few months if I machine polish them. My theory is the factory UV protection is abraded off the lenses by doing that. But when they are yellow and hazy, that seems to be the only option to make them look better. This time I used the Meguiars Heavy Duty kit which comes with a watery clear liquid coating that quickly solidifies and cures. So it's probably good for a little while longer - the label says 1 year. If this doesn't work very well my next thing to try is an actual clear coat in a spray can - which I have avoided so far because of its potentially hazardous nature and needing to make sure overspray doesn't get on anything else nearby.

Rare White Ape
August 25th, 2021, 05:24 PM
Looks like you are missing an engine as well......

Yeah, an LS9 would fit nicely in that hole.

August 27th, 2021, 01:19 PM
That hole is too small...

Speaking of engines, the plate is easy to see on these cars and I noticed it doesn't match the car's VIN. Turns out the engine is from a Celica GT. It'd be fun to CarFax that VIN sometime and see what the last mileage record is on that car. I have an engine with unknown mileage - but that's ok, my championship winning Nerves Of Teal had the same thing, a junkyard engine out of another car.

Getting itchy to drive the car again. It's just so hot to be working on it, then the mosquitoes come out at dusk, then it's too dark to do what I want to do.

September 21st, 2021, 12:19 PM
Got a little work done to the Spyder finally. First, the bumper had a tear in it at one of the side brackets where it meets the fender. Glued it together, let it cure, then layered touch-up paint over the course of 2 or 3 days to fill in the little gap as best I could. Pretty happy with the result.

https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/171981217/medium.jpg (https://pbase.com/bryanh/image/171981217/original)
Clicky for bigger.

Headlights and bumper are now aligned much better. Ride height is raised to clear speedbumps. Looks almost stock height now, I may lower it a bit or just put the stock springs with Koni yellows on. I need to get new bump stops for that combo since they're crumbled to bits.

True to form I also cleaned the tool bag and spare tire and front bin. :lol:


I want to replace that passenger side headlight. The yellowing won't go away even after repeated wetsanding and polishing, it has that chunk missing in the lower corner, and one of the mounting tabs is missing and I'm pretty sure the other upper mounting tab wasn't glued back on in quite the right orientation. I signed up for a text alert in case my local yard gets a Spyder in, so far nothing.

It leaks oil from the drain plug. I ordered a new one for next oil change. That should solve it especially since what was on there had that reddish dried goop on it to seal it up. Quality.

I've driven it maybe 30 miles so far and no visible oil loss on the dipstick, which is slightly encouraging. I need to do a compression test and drive it longer distances (and closer to redline) to really test it. I put in a Valvoline synthetic high mileage oil when I first got the car.

September 21st, 2021, 12:28 PM
It seems to attract huge trucks.


I think the entire hood would go under the truck before its bumper hit my windshield! And this was after raising my ride height to near stock levels.


Sunday we went to dinner with patio seating since the weather was so nice. After getting our food and coming back out this huge thing had parked next to the little arachnid.

I think I'm going to put that exhaust on sooner than later so I can be heard before I'm seen. I wanted to keep the stock exhaust on for a while to be able to hear anything in/on the engine that might be making noises.

Also the idle gets a bit low sometimes, I may try cleaning the IAC valve. The idle is stable but the engine vibrates too much. Another 50rpm fixes it.


Last week I drove the SW20 for the first time in months. It is so good. Took it to my local track, left it parked and drove a truck around instead. :lol:



September 21st, 2021, 12:50 PM
Stock headlights are still available from the dealer for not totally exorbitant prices--one of the first things I did on mine.

September 21st, 2021, 01:18 PM
#GoodContent Cuda, and nice work on the bumper crack. Always satisfying to square something like that away by yourself.

September 22nd, 2021, 01:32 PM
I have thought about a new headlight for sure, $150 isn't outrageous for a complete assembly. It'd look maybe too perfect next to my restored but still chipped and hazy-in-places drivers side headlight, so I'd be really wanting to get a pair of new headlights, and then I've spent over $300 on prettier lights for a track car. It's hard but I'm trying to train myself not to be a perfectionist with this car. :) I already have two cars that get that treatment. I'm thinking I'll hold out for a ~$40 used headlight that has good tabs and hope I can polish it clear. More money for event entries or future engine swap. :)

Rare White Ape
September 22nd, 2021, 03:08 PM
On the topic of louder exhausts and being safer because youre louder, ask most motorcyclists and theyd agree with you.

But its actually complete bollocks and doing so causes you to rely on the hearing ability and actions of other drivers to keep you safe. Youd much rather rely on your own actions.

Your best bet is to not position your car on the passenger side of a truck that big for too long. The driver literally will not see you below the window of the opposite door and might just change lanes right on top of you.

September 22nd, 2021, 05:24 PM
On the topic of louder exhausts and being safer because youre louder, ask most motorcyclists and theyd agree with you.

But its actually complete bollocks and doing so causes you to rely on the hearing ability and actions of other drivers to keep you safe. Youd much rather rely on your own actions.

Your best bet is to not position your car on the passenger side of a truck that big for too long. The driver literally will not see you below the window of the opposite door and might just change lanes right on top of you.

This, loud pipes don't save lives. When you break down the science of doppler effect, and the sound waves traveling shorter distances because of the wavelength change, it makes the idea seem comical...

But definitely make the car louder, because it would make me happy.

September 23rd, 2021, 04:39 AM
Maybe one of those flags you have to have if you are out in the dunes....

Though if you 2jz it you could have it spitting flames vertically and that would be the same thing :p

September 23rd, 2021, 06:07 AM
Though if you 2jz it you could have it spitting flames vertically and that would be the same thing :p

This is obviously the best answer, 8 foot high flames shooting out of the car.

September 23rd, 2021, 08:40 AM
I concur.

Still thinking an audible car would be slightly safer than silence. I have heard bikes before I've seen them. But besides that an autox/track car needs to sound a little frisky anyway. :D

Rare White Ape
September 23rd, 2021, 01:56 PM
Oh yeah definitely make it sound nice.

Referring to my motorcycling colleagues, I always used to tell them, dont use safety as an excuse. Do it because it sounds good.

September 24th, 2021, 10:00 AM
Oh yeah definitely make it sound nice.

Referring to my motorcycling colleagues, I always used to tell them, dont use safety as an excuse. Do it because it sounds good.


September 27th, 2021, 12:19 PM
First highway drive - check.
First autocross - check.

The highway drive is notable because the soft top has multiple holes in it and I was worried it might come apart. And also one of the latches doesn't like to stay latched at first, but I think I figured out if I put the top up at least 15 minutes before a trip and re-seat the latch as often as it needs it in that time, it'll hold from then on. Fixing the latches (the other one squeaks like an annoying squeaky thing over bumps :lol:) is on the very long list of improvements...

After the event I heard a light knocking sound at idle. First thought is the beginnings of a bottom end bearing failure. The car wasn't run low on oil (it consumes some but I kept it at at least halfway up on the dipstick) but the engine has unknown mileage from an unknown Celica, so who knows. The knock/tap is rhythmic and only at idle - any other engine speed it's gone. I can't really hear it from the top, and it's loudest when I poke my head down to the ground behind the doors. That sure seems like rod knock indicators, but the fact it's only at one specific engine speed is a little confusing, makes me think maybe something big is rattling down there at that specific engine speed harmonic. Maybe a clutch spring is broken? The clutch felt a little heavier on the drive home, felt like there was more friction in the pedal, but not so heavy that it's obvious something is wrong.

I think the plan is to get under the car now that it's cool and see if anything heavy and external could be rattling down there. And then do a used oil analysis, which I'm guessing would tell me if I have a bearing issue or not. It's not a deep knock, it sounds more like a lifter tick but the sound is definitely not up high at the valve cover.

Anyway, the autox was fun, this car is a liiiiittttle better than the 328i at it. :D The Spyder still needs a lot of setup changes to get good, but that old familiar MR feeling is there. The rear sway bar is too big for this setup, so there's plenty of over-rotation on entry and then inside wheelspin on exit. The car came with some sort of Federal tire with 2017 build dates but plenty of tread. Seemed fairly sticky actually.


I was only 2.5 seconds slower than the Civic Type R driven by a National Champion. :lol: I'm not too mad about that considering how much better the Spyder can be when I get it sorted.

This camera mount was far less shaky and far more useful than I had anticipated (https://photos.app.goo.gl/Yzd7XESSE2i8vdoy8).

Paddock pic (https://photos.app.goo.gl/fnkrkVbwKwzATGJj9)

Love the shifter in this thing, it's so easy.

Rare White Ape
September 27th, 2021, 02:11 PM
Its the White Weapon.

The Bianco Belter.

Unsaturated Insanity.