Friday, June 24, 2011

DAY 42 - I'm back

It's been two weeks since I've posted on this blog, and I apologize to those of you who have been visiting and hoping to read more info. So let me bring you "up-to-speed" with what's been happening since the last time I was here.

My wife and I took a road trip to Marshalll, Missouri, last weekend for a family reunion. It's a little under 100 mile trip from Kansas City and it's pretty much a straight shot east on I-70. It was a sunny day, and the car performed great with a couple of exceptions: First, I'm pretty certain I need to make a visit to the service department at the dealership to get an alignment. The car wanted to wander slowly to the right when I let go of the wheel. Not a severe degree of wandering, but enough to let me know there was something not quite correct. It didn't matter which lane I was in. It wandered to the right in both of them.

Secondly, the car seemed a little noisier than the Lexus. Perhaps that's to be expected, but I wasn't expecting it. It's probably the runflat tires that are the culprits for the noise, and I guess I'll just have to live with it for now.

I passed the 1,200 mile break-in number on the odometer yesterday, so I'm going to start doing a little more accelerator punching when the opportunity presents itself. Occasionally. The price of gas is the only reason I don't punch it more often just for the sheer joy of it. When I do throw caution to the wind, I'm sure I must have a look like Mr. Sardonicus for the next mile or so. In case you've never seen that old William Castle film, you might want to google it and get a look at the guy. You'll understand when you see him.

So that's it for today from this reporter. I hope you'll leave a comment and tell me what's going on with you and your car.

Friday, June 10, 2011

DAY 27 - Another RPM Issue

A few days ago I posted an article regarding an irregular engine revving issue that I experience with a cold engine. Here's a LINK to that post if you want the background first.

Something similar happened this evening. I had just come off the highway after a 7 mile trip following our son to a friend's house. We pulled to the curb and I put the shifter into Park. The A/C was running and the engine oil was at operating temperature of about 240 degrees. Within a few minutes after stopping the tachometer needed decided to move from 700 or so up to about 1200, very similar to what it had done in the garage when the engine was cold.

On this occasion, the needle did very similar gyrations to what it had done the first time. I'm wondering if it might be something that's programmed into the car to keep the engine cooler. But I have no basis for that speculation. After 30 seconds or so and a few trips from 700 to 1200 and back again, it quit moving and settled in at the 700 mark.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's had a similar experience and what the result was.

DAY 26 - Oops!

I missed a day. And I'm actually writing this on day 27. It was just a very busy day and nothing really happened of any significance.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DAY 25 - A Quality Issue

In my job, I spend a lot of time inside various vehicles. I check their options and look at the quality of their material and workmanship.

Since buying my BMW, I've been noticing things. Today was the day I noticed a lot about the interior quality and material of leather seats.

I was primarily looking at GM models today. These included the Chevrolet Malibu, Impala, HHR, Tahoe, and Traverse. I also got inside a few Cadillacs including a CTS, DTS, SRX, and Escalade. I learned something about the leather seats in these models that I wasn't aware of previously. And it was actually a bit of a shocking surprise. What I learned was that the leather seats in these vehicles are not made like the seats in my BMW.

In the models I examined, the seat back and seating area appears to be leather, or something reasonably similar in appearance. However, the side of the seat bolster is some type of mesh fabric. I was actually very surprised when I noticed it for the first time, and it became an obsession as I went from one model to the next, typically finding the same thing in each one.

I can understand this to some degree in the lower end model HHR, maybe even in the Malibu. But I'm thinking the Impala and ALL of the Cadillac line deserve better. They should spend the money to give the buyer the leather in that area and not cheap out and give them something that's not going to wear nearly as well in the long run. I'm still upset with Mercedes Benz and their obsession with the MB-Tex.

Obviously, GM is in a rebuilding mode since their bailout by the taxpayer, and if they can save a few dollars per vehicle, then I presume that's what they're going to do until things turn around and they become more profitable. This post is by no means meant to be a negative shot at the GM products. It's simply pointing out one of their cost-saving design elements that I find a bit unconventional and, well, actually a little tacky. I really think they could do the right thing with the seats and save the cost of that small amount of leather somewhere else in the manufacturing process. But that's just my opinion.

I'd love to hear yours. I'd especially love to hear from someone at GM who could provide some information and justification for why they're using that cheaper material. If there's a reason other than cost, I'd love to know about it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DAY 24 - The Dust Issue

There is no way to keep a car clean unless you keep it inside all the time. And even then, you're going to have to cover it with a car cover. So, my meticulously waxed and dust-free paint became less than perfect today at the ball game.

Our nine-year-old grandson had his first baseball game this evening. Unfortunately, it was played at an older field that is currently undergoing remodeling. There are new sidewalks, bleachers, and lots of gravel dust. It's a mess, actually, especially if you're driving a spotlessly waxed and dusted vehicle.

Well, spotless and dust-free are now things of the past. Zelda is home from the game, and she's sitting in the garage with a fine coat of dust on her paint. Hopefully, some of that will blow off tomorrow on the way to work. We'll see how many particles can hold on at 80 mph.

Monday, June 6, 2011

DAY 23 - Instant MPG

While visiting Bimmerfest recently, someone posted a comment that the 335i does not have an option to view instant mpg. Actually, that's not true. It's a little convoluted, but here's the procedure to displaying that info on your instrument panel.

1. Press the "BC" button on your turn signal stalk.
2. The first item that comes up is your "range" number (how many miles until empty).
3. Keep pressing it, and eventually, you will see something that looks like this:

That's all you have to do.

From that point on, every time you start the engine, the display will appear. If you get tired of it, you can press that BC button again and go to another option.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

DAY 22 - A Meguiar's Kind of Day

It was a beautiful day today. The skies were clear and blue, and the temperature got up to 92 degrees or thereabouts. I sweated like a pig in the garage, but it was an enjoyable exercise. Here's the itinerary:

1. Did a quick wash in the driveway, paying particular attention to the wheels.
2. Microfiber towel drying. (I've heard a leaf blower is a great alternative to the manual method.)
3. Clay barred the hood and trunk, the roof, and the top of the front fenders. 
4. Considered clay barring the rest, but I decided to save the time required to do the vertical surfaces since they didn't seem to need it as much as the horizontal ones.
5. Used the Meguiar's NXT Tech Wax 2.0 for the first time. I absolutely LOVE it. It's easy-on-easy-off and it leaves a great shine. The next time I wash it I'm planning to try the Meguiar's Yellow Wax (#26).*
6. Sprayed the wheels with the Armour All Wheel Protectant. Pretty nice finish. Hope it works.

And here are the results. The lighting wasn't intense, since it was almost 9:00 p.m. when I took these, but you can definitely see a nice shine on the car. Okay, it's a brand new car with new paint, but it didn't shine like this before the wax was applied.

Now, in case you noticed that asterisk up there at the end of item 5, here's what that's all about.

If you're a dealer or distributor, of if perhaps you're the owner of Meguiar's, send me a can of that Yellow Wax #26 so I can give it a try. After all, I've given you great press on your NXT product. Right? Right.

And if you're a Zaino dealer or distributor, I'd love to try that product, too, and tell my readers what I think of it. So, package up a Porter Cable buffer and the pads I'll need, along with some product and some instructions, and I'll give it a go. I'd be happy to make a video.

I grew up using Turtlewax, (on my 1964 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport 327, 4-speed convertible) but I haven't tried any of their product in years. I'm sure there are some new state-of-the-art items in their product line. I'd be happy to try those and review them as well. Just leave a comment and we'll work out the details.

And for those car lovers out there who have their own favorites, leave a comment and tell us what you like. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

DAY 21 - Got Tech Wax 2.0!

My day was way too busy. In fact, there was so much to do that I didn't get a chance to do anything with Zelda other than drive her to Walmart, Sherwin Williams, Sally's Beauty Salon (for the wife, of course), Aldi's, and McDonald's. However, I took advantage of being at Walmart to pick up a bottle of Meguiar's NXT Tech Wax 2.0. I'm really anxious to try that product out because I've heard a lot of good reports on it. Hopefully, I can spend some time with the claybar tomorrow and then the NXT.

It's 9:00 pm here in KC now. It's getting dark. I supposed I could make a trip to the garage and get the pressure corrected in all four tires, since it wasn't right when I drove it home from the dealership. How do they manage to deliver a car without checking the tire pressure. I would think there would be a punch list to make sure everything was done correctly for the customer. (See my earlier post about the coolant level.)

I also need to get a small vacuum to pick up the lint on the carpet. Any suggestions on a cheap alternative for that task?

Friday, June 3, 2011

DAY 20 - BMW Assist - Finally!

I called my SA this afternoon and asked him if he received my email with the VIN issue. He said he had and that the correction had been made. He also told me to "Press the button to open the SOS activation switch and press it."

I did as he suggested. It appears that plugging the correct VIN into the BMW Assist enrollment application on the dealership's computer was the answer to the missing BMW Assist feature, because within a moment after pressing the button, the voice on the other end of the call told me that I did, in fact, have the BMW Assist feature and it was activated!

What followed was an in-depth explanation of the feature-laden BMW Assist program which included roadside assistance for fuel, flat tire, weak battery, and even an automatic unlocking feature, should you happen to leave your keys inside the car. And they have a safety feature that automatically dispatches emergency assistance if they receive notification that an airbag has deployed. As I mentioned, it took a few minutes for the rep to go through the features and get everything set up. She was quite pleasant and very professional, and when we finished, it was done and everything was operational. I'm glad to get that done and off my to-do list. Finally!

Moving forward, tomorrow looks like a good day to hose off the dust and finish that claybarring that I started last night. I also want to try the Meguiar's Yellow Wax and see how that works. Of course that will come after the claybar and the Show Car Polish. I also want to try out the new Armour All Wheel Protectant to get that brake dust under control. We'll make it look like a brand new car when we're finished!

If you have any favorites in your collection of waxes and polishes, feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DAY 19 - The Plot Thickens

Perhaps I've discovered why I have no BMW Assist for my car. I received today in the mail my BMW Assist Enrollment Agreement. The service is free, but they require me to sign and return one copy to my dealership.

In looking over the document, I noticed two errors: The car was listed as Titanium Silver Metallic instead of Space Gray. That's probably not a cause for my car not being enrolled, but the second error just might be. The VIN is totally wrong—not just a number or two—totally incorrect. That, I presume, may be the cause that there's no record of my car being enrolled. I've sent an email to my SA and asked him to re-enter the info with the correct VIN. We'll see what that does.

On another subject, I took the old claybar to one side of the hood tonight. It seems strange that a new paint job would have so many imperfections in it, but it does. Correction, only one side of it does now. The claybar worked wonderfully, as usual, and left half the hood perfectly smooth. Following that, I applied a coat of Meguiar's Show Car Polish and a coat of their Gold Master Wax.

On the inside, I've noticed some small spots on the vinyl in the door sills, as if someone sprayed something on it but didn't wipe it off. I took a little Meguiar's Vinyl and Rubber Protectant and gave it a quick swipe. Those areas are perfectly flawless now. Amazing what a little bit of a high quality product can do when you take a little time to use it. Maybe I should be working in a detail shop. Or start my own business detailing high-end vehicles. Hmm. Something to consider in retirement.

This weekend I'm going to do the whole car. I'm planning on picking up either some Meguiar's Gold Class Carnauba Wax or some of their Yellow Wax product. I need to research those a bit. If you've used either of them, please leave a comment and tell us what you thought of them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

DAY 18 - Engine Revving ????

What a day this has been. I still don't have BMW Assist. I called the SA. He said he had put everything into the computer and it should be working. I called BMW. The lady I spoke with did some checking and told me that the dealership had apparently not done something to activate it. It's going to require a trip to the dealership to get it fixed. Bummer.

And now there's another issue that's a brand new one. The car had been sitting for five hours after driving it home, so the engine was cool. Not totally cool, but not hot either. I decided to go buy a Powerball ticket. When I started the car, it started right up, as usual. Then the engine began revving between 700 and 1200 rpm. Then it returned to 700 rpm and repeated the procedure. This round trip from 700 to 1200 and back to 700 took approximately 1 second. It went through this revving about 8 or 10 times and then stopped. Anyone have any idea what that's all about? Something to ask the dealership when I get the BMW Assist fixed, I guess. Maybe  should trade it for an HHR or something.