22 September 2011

A busy day....

Took the day to do a few things to the car. I had been saving some mods and maintenance for today, So here's what went down. First up was an oil change. It's been 7,500 miles since my last change and although I'm sure I could go longer, I couldn't really stomach the thought. New Mahle oil filter and 6.75 qts. of BMW branded 5w-30 Full synthetic. I also took the time to replace my drain plug with a magnetic one. Thought it may be a good idea since I plan to do my own oil changes from now on. Big ups to getbmwparts.com for the excellent price on the oil and filter, $69.00 shipped! Whilst under the hood I also installed a couple M3 strut tower caps, doesn't do much, but I like the look. I also replaced the plastic coolant bleed screw with a brass one. I'll eventually get round to replacing most of the coolant system, hopefully by the end of the year. And While I was under the car I replaced two missing jack pads. Since I used ramps to change the oil, I didn't really need them, but it was nice to replace a couple missing parts. And lastly, but certainly not the least, I installed an M3 style lip spoiler, had it pre-painted at the factory. It was a straight-forward installation, but took about 30-45 mins to make sure I had it lined up correctly. I'll take some photos showing off the spoiler a bit later, after it's all washed and cleaned.

05 September 2011

The Ultimate Drive Checklist

Since taking up a job that requires me to live, literally, 10 seconds from the office, I have not really driven the Bimmer recreationally for some time. I've been on "work, eat, run, sleep" mode for a few months, and needed a break, just a small change, something to excite me. Then I remembered the Bimmer. It's been kept clean, fluid levels maintained, oil change up to date, but it's been begging to be pushed. Last night, I gave up and and planned a little drive around. Not just a leisurely cruise in the neighbourhood, no, I took it out on a 100 mile scenic and twisty night drive!

Now this wasn't as spontaneous as it may sound, I'd been planning all day for this and had a few things to make it more enjoyable:

First off, BMW Financial Services has recently released an app for iOS and Android that is dubbed "a Social Navigation app". Users can comment on, rate, create, and find fun, twisty, scenic roads in over 50 countries. The app is called "The Ultimate Drive"

I used this app to find a Palomar Mountain loop weighing in at 100 miles round-trip. I loaded the starting location and way points into the GPS and checked the most important item (the destination) off my checklist, but I wasn't done yet.

What good is a drive without music? I needed The Ultimate Driving Playlist. Sadly, my choice in music is a little outdated, or awesome, just not "night driving, twisty road awesome" So I gave it a little thought, and tried to think up songs about cruising or driving, or adventure, but nothing really came to mind, then I remembered a particular song I had always associated with auto-racing: "The Cardigans - My Favourite Game" a la the Gran Tourismo video game series, and I remembered how much I enjoyed the music selected for the games. I set about scouring the internet for the soundracks to each game and found them at "gtplanet.net". I picked out a few bands I knew and liked and got to downloading them + a few of my own. They are:

Goldfinger - 99 Red Balloons
Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way
The Hives - B is for Brutus
Queens of the Stone Age - Go With the Flow
Pride Tiger - Let 'em Go
The Cardigans - My Favourite Game
Less Than Jake - Short Fuse Burning
Queens of the Stone Age - Lost Art of Keeping a Secret
Two Door Cinema Club - Undercover Martyn
Does it Offend You, Yeah? - With a Heavy Heart
Blonde Redhead - Equus
Franz Ferdinand - Michael
The Strokes - Under Cover of Darkness
The Sounds - Don't Want to Hurt You
Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood
Interpol - Barricade
The Strokes - Alone Together
Two Door Cinema Club - What you Know
Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver

Lastly, I wanted to try out a new app called "GPS HUD" from the android market. Basically it uses GPS and 3G to do display current speed, location, weather, date/time, bearing, RSS Headlines (customisable), Text Messages as they come, and an ECO drive indicator. You can also choose to have it auto answer calls and direct it through speaker. All of this can be mirrored onto your windshield for a HUD. I had to fashion something to keep my phone from sliding around the dash on the twisty roads, so {for now} I used a silicone sparkplug wire seperator from a previous car, wrapped it in black fabric tape, and snappd it on the front windshield defroster vent. Worked a treat. So with the DSC and Traction Control off, I was now ready to head out. The drive was great, nice twisty back country roads looping a mountian. Awesome HUD lighting up the windshield in a "look at me" but not too distracting way. Bi-Xenons lighting the dark road, peering to see whats around each turn. Tunes were great for mid-to-high speed driving. Pulling into the garage afterwards was the hardest part of the night, but a nice cold beer with my name on it, capped off a great 2 hours. All-in-all, everything went just as planned.

Happy Motoring.