Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

Cheap Maintenance

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Last year I have written a post where I have described how I managed to apply a DIY guideline to upgrade the interior trims of my car. Now, I have faced a little bit more complicated task: fix the electric window on the car.

A few months ago (well, actually last year) I have foolishly tried to force my windows to open, with a complete disregard of the fact that they were simply frozen in their sockets. Lucky for me, I did not do a lot of damage, but the cracks and pops it was doing while pulling it up afterwards really scared me. I quickly looked up on the internet the possible source of the problem and voila the solution presented itself. I just needed a garage which, sadly, is only available at my parents house, so I scheduled my repair to the next time I went home… Easter… (yes, I have a busy life and I can only go home once in a while).

The long awaited time, however, finally came and I prepared myself for the big task: I bought a brand new set of tools for 75RON (€18.00) and a bag of zip ties (cheap). Having everything ready, together with my father we sliced up the door panel (actually following this cool tutorial) like so:
E46 Door Panel
I have to say I was not quite sure, that the actual problem in my case was the same as the one presented in the solution (the zip tie trick), so I was pretty relieved to find out the the same piece was broken in my case also. I quickly applied the zip tie trick, fastening as tight as I could the string to the broken piece:
E46 Window Regulator
After a few more finishing cuts on the zip ties, we assembled the mechanism back, connected the battery to its place and tried out the fixed mechanics: the window was moving smoothly again. We disconnected the battery again (just to avoid fault signals of the airbag) then reassembled the vapor barrier, the airbag and the door cover. Easy-peasy: 3 hours consumed, a lot more time won by reducing the time needed to find an adequate parking place: the inability to reach for the tickets at the entry of arranged parking lots was already driving me crazy…

One thing to add: make sure you have the proper tools before starting to venture on this great ‘journey’: some of the screws are not so easy to remove.


Car Evolution

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Now I am a BIG fan of cars. Ever since I was a young boy, I was buying auto-magazines, checking out new cars and I was generally fascinated by the way cars look, sound and feel. The whole concept, however, might get turned upside down if the plans of some auto-makers come true.
GM Puma EV
In the picture above GM’s EN-V is presented, a two-seater electric car. The company went public with the idea somewhere in the spring of last year (if I am not wrong). Today as I logged into YM, a news-article with the following video in it caught my eye:

They are actually driveable! This means that in a few years tops we will have to start re-educating driving instructors and start re-writing the rules.

Now I know the whole concept is something very different than what people think of when thinking of cars, but I kind of like the idea. Just think about the space people can save up in parking lots, the places they can access and just look at that cool turn radius: it practically turns around itself. Yes, yes it kills out the original idea of the car, the car as we know it will disapear… or will it? 🙂


Dashboard update

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

When I was searching for the best deal before buying my car (those 2-3 years of dreaming actually) I have created a picture of what the perfect configuration would look like (both exterior and interior colors and equipment). Of course when I actually gathered enough money to buy the car, I had a small window of choosing and buying one from the used car market. Naturally the first criteria was mileage, equipment, condition and last but not least: price. I have tried to choose one which had the closest match to the exterior/interior configuration I dreamed about. I have nailed the exterior and I managed to find one which had a pretty close match for the interior also. Pretty close, but not the aluminum-like trim I really dreamed about:

After a year of driving it like that, I came across an interesting article on the internet showing how this trim can be changed. The links on the thumbnails do not work, because it is a pretty old post, however I managed to find them looking at the source code of the web-site 😀 . I have quickly looked up an online BMW Part Catalog for the exact parts that I would need. The trim-type I was looking for, was the one code-named TITAN II trim (it is plastic but looks aluminum). The next step was to ask for the same parts at one of the local car-parts dealer. After this, things went fast: ordered, shipped (in 4 days!), ready to be installed 🙂 .

So this Saturday morning was dedicated to the trim-change activity. I memorized the guidelines I have seen in the article, went down to the car and did this to the poor thing:
E46 no interior trim
Yeeees it is ugly, BUT: I had my brand new original, factory made TITAN II trims on stand-by next to me on the seats. So basically within a few minutes my car interior got really close to the interior I always dreamed of:
E46 TITAN II interior trim
Of course the trimming is not limited to the dash only: I had to change the side-trims also on all 4 doors. The whole idea of my little experiment was to see how hard is the work of the BMW mechanics at the local dealership which for sure would have skinned me alive for this small work, just cause their mechanics have a BMW badge on their clothes. The whole trim-change operation took much less than I expected: in 40 minutes I changed all the trimming, without any problems (of course the tutorial was GOLD!, couldn’t have done it without it).

So what is missing? My TITAN II decor-trim on the steering wheel (the lower forks). I looked it up, they have it… but first I have some brake-maintenance to get through…


The Return of the King

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Over the weekend Bugatti once again proved it’s superior performance to other sports cars. The new Bugatti Veyron SuperSports claimed back it’s trophy as the worlds fastest production car… in the world 🙂 The car clocked an average of 431.07 km/h on it’s two way record setting run, to the engineers amazement, who were hoping a speed of 425 km/h.

What I like about this car, is that not only it managed to break the record (again), but (as always), the Veyron has always done it with style. I mean yes, the SSC Ultimate Aero was the previous record holder, barely beating the Veyron’s short lived record, but just look at it… it’s… well… it lacks the glamor… And now, the new Bugatti kept it’s style (although not as fancy as the original) and has jumped ahead with 20 km/h more than the SSC. Now that’s something.

More info on (In Italian, but I have to be honest, that is where I have read about it first…)

Here’s another report from the guys who never really got the hang of the metric system:


Lamborghini Museum

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

After the Galleria Ferrari visit we went along to visit another great Italian car manufacturer, which has its headquarters nearby: Lamborghini. After visiting the official site we already knew that we had to book a visit 30 days prior to the visit, if we would like to do a factory visit, too. Because of this I have had a couple of e-mails with a Lamborghini official to make the booking to the factory visit also.
Lamborghini Museum
When we arrived to the Lamborghini factory, however, they were expecting us with an unpleasant surprise: the factory was closed that week, so we could only visit the museum. They told us that they have sent me an e-mail about this, but I know I did not receive anything… so much for Audi’s professionalism… I knew from another blog review that there is a small window from where you can see inside the factory, but that has been gone too 🙁 .

After this unhappy moment, we went on to at least visit the two floor Lamborghini museum. Most of our sadness has gone when we saw the cars. The old cars on the ground floor were nice (ex. the first 1963 350 GT of Feruccio Lamborghini and the #0001 Countach), but for me, as a car enthusiast, the real surprise was upstairs. As I climbed up, I saw a real, functioning Reventon 😀 , a 1 million euro super-jewel of the current model-range. The other cars were nice, too. There were some concept cars and some tuned-up Diablos. The Diablo stuck on the wall, that I read about in the above mentioned blog, was replaced by a Murcielago of the same color.

We took some pictures, admired the cars, and went to see what is in the gift-shop (They have very kindly notified us, that there is one and they gave us indications where it is… ). Among the pricey clothes and leather accessories present at the gift-shop there were some coffee-mugs that seemed interesting, but at the 24 euro price the did not look so nice as the 18 euro coffee mugs at Ferrari’s gift-shop.

Not taking into consideration, that the main attraction of the day, an actual visit inside the factory was so simply blown away, it was a nice experience. I have uploaded some photos to my Picasa web account.