Friday, March 22, 2013

Dope. #140

Image courtesy of

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What to watch this weekend (Mar 22nd - Mar 27th)

  • Formula 1 - Malaysia Grand Prix; from Kuala Lumpur/Sepang International Circuit. Practice. Friday @ 2am - 3:30am (NBCSN(HD))
  • Formula 1 - Malaysia Grand Prix; from Kuala Lumpur/Sepang International Circuit. Qualifying. Saturday @ 4am - 5:30am (NBCSN(HD)) 
  • Formula 1 - Malaysia Grand Prix; from Kuala Lumpur/Sepang International Circuit. Race. Sunday @ 3:30am - 6am (NBCSN(HD)) replay Sunday at 3pm 
  • Indycar Series - Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, FL. Sunday @ 12:00pm - 3pm (NBCSN(HD))
  • Top Gear (UK). Top Gear Apocolypse. Monday @ 8pm - 9:30pm (BBCAmerica(HD)) replay
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Season 5 mini-marathon. Monday @ 7pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Top Gear (US). Minnesota Ice Driving. Tuesday @ 9pm - 10pm (HistoryChannel(HD)) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. Wednesday @ 8pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replays
After watching last weekends race in Australia, a few things come to mind. Force India is a legit. Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel are still the bully on the schoolyard. Ferrari and McLaren have switched positions on the season start, when compared to last year; Ferrari looks sharp and has a great car. Massa lead the race for a period of time, seemingly out driving Alonzo much like the end of last year...but as usual Alonzo got the last word. What McLaren was doing during that rain drenched Q2 with Sergio's tires still boggles the mind. Their car is off pace and apparently they've tried to reinvent the wheel instead of evolve the 2012 car. Hams hasn't lost a step and Petronas Mercedes might have the fastest car on the track very soon. The confusing thing is how quickly the Petronas cars drop off the pace after starting/qualifying so well over the past couple years; I hope they can figure that out. Last but not least, Kimi is the man. Malaysia should be another firefight.

In other news, look forward to Indycars in the streets of Florida and solid replays. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of Indycars.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quick Vid: Mercedes CLA secrets laid bare (Autocar)

Autocar UK brings us spec on the newest Mercedes-Benz model on the scene; the front-wheel drive CLA sedan.

Video courtesy of Autocar.

The Red Coupe - Next steps.

After several weeks of assessing the future of the red coupe, I've come to a couple decisions. For one, I'll be better off finishing some major repairs before any potential sale in order to get max value. There is only one thing in the air currently and that is the full respray decision. In lieu of an engine bay/door jam/exterior respray there are a few more pressing matters of expense. The a/c system is in need of an overhaul. After three years of painless function, outside of the blower motor which has gone down hill, the heater core has finally reached the end of its effectiveness. Steamy windows in the winter and other cues have lead to the system being bypassed all together. Now you may say that no heat in the middle of winter is a rough road to walk, but I did myself a favor and finally got a replacement car for my wife's rusty Mazda Protege5; a 2013 Jetta Sportwagen S. Her rusty Mazda, which was the other half of the repair headache at home, is now patched up for the rest of it's life as my daily driver so that I can focus on the red coupe without interruption (and more importantly a need for a rental car). So now that I have a car with heat (knock on wood), and working windshield washer nozzles, I can focus on parts collecting and repairs.

The first on the list of things to get addressed as I stated is the heater core, valve, pipes, grommet for the pipes and associated o-rings. I first tried to go through my repair shops parts suppliers, but apparently the heatercore valve is a rare commodity. An April ETA through the dealer pushed me online and after some mild searching I found a NIB (plastic inlet) heatercore and valve for about half the cost of oem msrp. I have a few more parts needing to be collected for this, including a new fan assembly, which aren't cheap by any means but will give me a car capable of being called turn-key in anyone's eyes. The cooling side of the air conditioning is another question mark; I believe what came with the car was R12, which is treated like a controlled substance and expensive, but conversion to R134 is not worth the money. I've received mixed information on what the 89' 325i A/C system was capable of so that'll need to be figured out before getting either an R12 replacement charged or a traditional R134 charge. I think it'll need to be a 'synthetic' R12 charge.

The next on the list is the cluster; I've run into several cooling system abnormalities over the past month or two which actually lead to the discovery of the problematic heatercore; my coolant temp gauge has been dancing into the red since an 15 degree morning in January not too long ago. At first I thought I had too much purified water in the system and that was causing me blockage issues, then after a flush the problem didn't go away. Further investigation proved that my clutch fan was toast so that was replaced, along with the thermostat, but my gauge still danced from time to time. I found myself researching solutions, in order to rule out other issues that may be affecting the readings, and that lead me to the infamous cluster SI board. While I am handy I've never been good at soldering. Refurbishing a SI board requires reflowing the major solder pathways on the SI board as well a soldering in new batteries. A bit more digging found me an electrician who started a small service restoring SI boards for a reasonable fare. I picked up the SI board for the repair a couple weeks ago. I have a spare motormeter cluster that I should be able to pillage to repair my VDO unit to like new (functionally anyways). It'll be nice when my cluster is sorted.

At this point I have the original damage the front rad support had when I bought the car and my later deer-encouraged damage. Despite my best efforts both events left me with a rad support far from straight enough for my panels, let alone for the headlights and bumper fitment. I found the part numbers for the front rad support on realoem and pricing for the entire support isn't terrible (relatively). Plan being is if my body shop can come up with a solid rad and cut it out for the swap for less than buying one, fine, but if I need to source it, cool. Once the rad support is patched and the front of the car is true, I'll put my spare hood and previously acquired hood mounting bits on the car to complete the front end. Next on the bodywork list is the trunk, which is severely rusted at the pinch weld, then the rusted sunroof panel; I have a spoiler-less replacement trunk, but the sunroof panel needs to be replaced. Then there's minor, but important not to ignore, rust needing addressing in the door jams. I think you get the idea that the respray is almost a forgone conclusion; I need funds to do so though, as the mechanical repairs aren't cheap. Hopefully I won't have to sell any wheels, but in case I do I put the show wheels on the chopping block. If they sell, great. If they don't sell before the car is done, these two crazy kids can be reunited. This is really a matter of the speed in which I can get the bodywork finished.

In the meantime I'm just collecting parts for the above repairs, and gathering funds for the other cosmetic repairs; redone headliner (need the windows removed for the job) and replacing window, trunk and sunroof gaskets...there's also my spare dash that needs to be installed. That's the latest; I'll pick this back up once the repairs start gettin' on. With pictures.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Car Pron: Volvo S60 Polestar vs Audi RS4 and BMW M3 (Automotorsporttv)

Remember that S60 Polestar that Chris Harris tested on our post last month? Well the crew at Automotorsport TV compare this limited edition Volvo excursion against the BMW E92M3 and Audi RS4. Enjoy.

Video courtesy of Automotorsporttv.