Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let There Be (More) Light... a Little

A few weeks ago, we were invited to a fun outdoor party at Matt Sware's new house in Strasburg.  The party didn't start until 8:00 pm, and it was fully dark well before then. Mary Ellen and I went in the Coupe, so we could park next to Matt's 2000 M Coupe - same color! He saved me a special space next to his. We looked very mysterious parked together there in the dark. I tried to take a picture via flashlight, but that was an absolute fail.

For those of you who don't know, Strasburg is out in the country, and we took the country back roads to get there. Dark! Really dark. I guess we're spoiled, since both Mary Ellen's BMW 328 and my new VW GTI have xenon headlights, but it felt like we were making our way (in John Biemiller's evocative phrase) by shining a flashlight out the window. I resolved then and there to try to upgrade the lights.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Unsticking the Stuck, Part 1

Sometimes nuts, bolts and screws just get stuck, and no amount of effort will unstick them! I previously posted about a visit to Jack's Auto and Aero, to enlist Jack's help with stuck nuts on my exhaust system, and some serious seized brake lines. What I didn't tell in that post was that there was one more stuck bolt, and it is still stuck.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Stopping the Clutch

The BMW Z3 was built to a budget. All cars are, but the Z3 in particular has a bit of a "parts-bin special" reputation. In the early 90's, there were very few convertibles even being sold. But then Mazda hit a home run with the Miata, and BMW decided to test the waters with a brand new model - the Z3, introduced in 1996. To save development and parts costs, many Z3 parts were recycled from the BMW 3-series coupes and sedans, and the interior in particular was rather cheaply made.

It's obvious that the original spec for the Z3 included a stop behind the clutch pedal, to limit the pedal travel. Every Z3 convertible and coupe has a threaded hole in the floorboard, behind the clutch: