Tag Archives: BMW Z4

Hot Wheels Race Cars Collection

Several years ago I started buying a ton of Hot Wheels diecast race cars to get my little nephews hooked on cars and racing. These days my young nephews have convinced me that I should have started my own Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection much sooner…

Don’t get me wrong I’ve been treating myself to a 1:18 model every now and again when I found a good deal online or in store, but those events have been rare. So far I only have a handful of SVT Cobra’s and SRT Viper’s to speak of. But Hot Wheels are cheap! And while they lack in detail of each tiny model, there’s a huge variety of choice out there. I’ve found myself lately rushing to the toy aisle of my local supermarket every time I go grocery shopping, to go thru the racks to see what’s new. If there’s a box display it takes me a good 20 minutes before I’m satisfied to leave that I’ve dug out everything there is to find in there. When I leave something I had in my hands without buying I feel instant regret.

That’s precisely what happened when I had Gulf Racing Porsche 917 Le Mans long tail from the 70’s and a modern Indy 500 open wheeler in the same livery. They were in my shopping cart for the whole store visit but before I got to the register I chucked them out because I have never seen Gulf livery on an IndyCar before… what a fool!?!

What’s even worse, there have been instances few years ago where I actually bought the cars. Gave them to my nephews who proceeded to bash them against each other, throw them around on the floor, and now keep them piled up in a large bucket because they have so many…. argh!

This happened to a red MIATA which I wish I kept in a box because I have not been successful finding another one for myself no matter how many Walmarts, Kmarts or Target stores I visit. But also other cool race cars like the pair of Castrol livery BMW 3.0 CSL’s below:

I even try to visit stores whenever I travel to see if other places get more variety. I did pick up several Mazda RX7’s on a trip to California last year, or Ford GT, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Cadillac ATS-V.R and Lambo Super Trofeo models on a recent trip to South Jersey while volunteering for MotoAmerica.

Seeing all these models glued to the wall makes me all nostalgic about working IMSA events where I blue flagged the exact Mercedes-AMG GT3’s and Ford GT’s. Or the Pirelli World Challenge where those Cadillac’s dominated everyone else.

Looking on the Hot Wheels web site I see a ton of models I’d like to add to my new wall collection. Including the white rotary Mad Mike MIATA which is the  closest representation of the livery he uses on his crazy drift car:

Or the yellow Lamborghini Super Trofeo, which looks awesome:

Or the Lamborghini Countach pace car which looks legit!

Or even little souped up Ford Fiesta from one of my new favorite sports that went belly up this year: Red Bull Global Rallycross:

Or many other new things that Hot Wheels hasn’t announced yet, or already stopped selling (is it me or is everything out of stock on their web site…. and I’m not paying eBay prices for any of these no matter how much I want them).

So if any one that knows me comes across a cool diecast, go ahead spend that $1 dollar on me, I’ll happily reimburse you.


PS. I’m very pleased with my growing ND MX5 collection, whenever I see them on a shelf I snatch them. I even beat another enthusiast that wanted the car while my eldest nephew an I went to our local Wal-Mart during the Hot Wheels 50th anniversary tour… and that never happens to me, for once lady luck was on my side.


Check out my Hot Wheels collection: click here

BMW Z4 Roadster Maintenance Day

Today was a Bimmer maintenance kind of day… after taking the car out yesterday to get new rear tires installed I had to talk the owner into doing oil and all the filters change… after all it’s been nearly a year since the last oil change I did on this car.

Interestingly enough the Bridgestone Potenza’s the car had fitted only 20k miles ago were bald. So she went with a newer Bridgestone run-flat that seems to be a much softer tire, drives smoother.

…and it was significantly cheaper price wise than the Potentza’s.

Driving the car to the tire place I noticed the TPMS was illuminated on the dash… turns out someone tried to patch the run flat…

I liked the idea of two jacks lifting the whole car up, I went and ordered a second jack for my garage. Lucky for me Sears had one deeply discounted. I picked up a Craftsman low profile 2 1/2 ton jack for $23 dollars out the door!

Driving the Bimmer I also realized that as similar as this car is to my Miata, it’s significantly different also. Besides the obvious 6 cyliner vs. my 4 cylinder, it has a bigger fuel tank too.

old vs. new tires

When I got home I also went shopping for some Air Filters. I had already ordered the oil and oil filter from Walmart previously, by far the best place to buy oil at only $26 bux a jug for 5QT and $8 bux each additional QT… and another $10 for the oil filter. I went with Castrol EDGE 0W40 Euro Formula like last time.

Walmart didn’t have the air filters. So I shopped around and it’s amazing how arbitrary the pricing is. Both online and in store. Advance Auto had it the cheapest, the Wyckoff store had both the Air Filter and the Cabin Air Filter for $23 total. (*$4 off per filter), I had some gift cards I wanted to use up so I went to the store and the price there was not discounted showing up at $33 total. So I stood at the counter and placed the order on the Internet. It showed up in their system 5 minutes later and I walked out with the same product for $10 bux less than what they sell ins tore. I didn’t get a chance to use my gift cards though… Touche!

I did some more research for the identical filters online and Pep Boys had the air filter two bux cheaper, but cabin filter was nearly double the price… and I’m talking the same exact Purolator stuff.


I love this Bimmer. I got to drive it long before I bought my Miata and in many ways this car inspired me to ditch a big four door sedan and start looking for a little red convertible, my very own roadster.

Much like last year the weather was kind of iffy… but the rain held off

I tackled the Air Filter first… as expected there was a lot of debris…

I don’t believe it was changed in a long time… comparison of old vs. new below:

The Cabin Air Filter was next, and it wasn’t much better. A ton of leaves came falling down out of the cabin filter slot:

So I made sure to vacuum everything in there to make it nice & clean

And the final job was to do the actual oil… first time using my new Craftsman jack, fresh after being picked up in store just minutes ago

Using two jacks makes life so much easier!

It’s amazing that this little car uses almost 7 QT’s of oil… it seemed like it was pouring out there forever:

I left the thing unplugged for a good half hour so all the oil dripped out, but when I went to button it up it was still dripping!

While waiting for the oil to drain I did the filter change on top of the engine which is very convenient!

I don’t know how these mechanics do it… it wasn’t particularly hot day, maybe in the upper 70’s F and I was sweating bullets!

Had to go take a shower when the job was done…

Filling up with oil took no time, and unlike last time when I poured 6QTs in and bought another one of which only half was used, I went ahead and poured in 6.9QT like the forums recommended. The car has no dip stick so I relied on the onboard computer for the read out. The level went up when I went for a drive. And I was more comfortable with it being over half on the read out than on the first mark like in the previous time I did the same oil change. Car felt super smooth after the oil change. I’m really pleased with the way everything worked out.

And it’s time to return the car to it’s owner… What a joy it is to drive!

BMW Z4: Oil Change with Castrol Edge 0W-40 Euro & Mann HU 816 X Oil Filter

Today’s little project was an oil change on my former bosses BMW. This particular Bimmer was my only chance to drive a manual / stick car in the US and I’ve had the privilege of running some errands in it since it was new in 2007. In fact this Bimmer inspired me to buy my Miata, not that the Mazda is in any way better than the BMW, it’s just something that I could afford. And the reason for me doing the oil change and not a local shop that I took this car to yesterday was also cost… I was quoted $124 all in at an oil change joint while the DIY cost me less than $50 bux!

To start I went on the forums to research what oil to use, how the oil change should be done, etc… The forums were a fucking mind fuck! Holly shit… do these people get carried away with their bullshit and without really answering the questions presented to them. So the purpose of this blog post is to share what I’ve done to my friend’s car and hopefully it will help someone in the future with a similar project on their car.

So BMW recommended Castrol in 2007, says so on the oil cap. I searched for the Castrol products. BMW Z4 takes 5W-30 oil weight and boss wanted synthetic. Great… I searched around, WalMart was cheapest at $25 for 5 quarts and another $7.50 for the 6th quart (of which the engine apparently takes between six and seven)… and all was good. Once I picked up the oil at the store and looked on the back, nothing was mentioned about BMW certification. So I searched for the “German Castrol” that everyone recommended on the forums. Luckily WalMart carried Castrol Edge European Formula (Made in Germany as opposed to Made in USA) but only in 0W-40 weight. I searched the forums again to see if it would work. Reached out to a few people I know who own or work on BMW Z4’s and they said that oil will work. The in-store price of the oil was even cheaper at $22.97 a jug! (Whereas Advance Auto Parts or AutoZone sell the same thing for $35+). I did order a Mann Oil filter from Advance using their famous 20% discount coupon to buy the Mann HU 816 X for just $9.99 plus tax.

That was yesterday. Early this morning I went to the office to pick up the Bimmer and bring it home. Figured the engine would warm up nicely while I drive it the 5 miles home… It certainly did. Perhaps even too much as everything in the engine compartment was scalding hot. And then it started raining… so my oil change was in the wet… Just my luck!

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 6

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 1

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 2

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 3

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 4

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 5

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 7

The actual process of an oil change in this car, that for some weird European or maybe German reason doesn’t even come with a dip stick anymore, is fairly straight forward and simple. Only a few steps. I started by undoing the filter which is on the top of the engine. A strap wrench worked fine while many forum posts recommended a “special” tool… old filter was pretty filthy. Popped the new filter in, changed two O-rings, put some oil on them and screwed it back in.

Getting under the car was tricky much like the Miata. But I figured using two jacks would get the job done. I used a 3 ton Sears jack to raise one side. For the other side I used a scissor jack from my Ford Explorer to raise it high enough for my fat belly to fit under the car. Once there I was expecting to find an aluminum door that covers the bottom of the drain pan… it was missing. So I had direct access to the 17mm nut which came off pretty easily. Drained the oil, put a new crush washer on the nut to tighten it back up. Filled the car up with new oil… and voila!

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 8

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 9

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 10

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 11

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 12

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 13

Next step was to reset the on-board computer so the oil light doesn’t come on. There are two buttons right above the steering wheel closest to the instrument cluster. Held one button down while turning the key one click, held for five seconds and the display changed to something I couldn’t really read. I assume it reset. Took the car for the drive back to the office and selected the “Oil” setting on the dash and the diagnostic said OK… that’s the electronic dipstick at work… but it was showing oil on the first mark, so I’ll buy another quart of oil to top it off to at least mid-point on the dipstick.

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 14

bmw z4 oil change castrol edge 0w40 mann filter 15

Easy peasy!

I had such a Jeremy Clarkson moment that “I mended something!” I decided to change the oil on my dad’s van too…

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan that now runs Mobil 1 5w-30 synthetic.

dodge grand caravan oil change mobil 1 5w30 synthetic 1

dodge grand caravan oil change mobil 1 5w30 synthetic 2

dodge grand caravan oil change mobil 1 5w30 synthetic 3

dodge grand caravan oil change mobil 1 5w30 synthetic 4

Postcard from NÜRBURGRING 24H & WTCC on the Nordschleife

There’s no place in the world like the N-ring in Germany. The amazing Nordschleife!This was my second trip volunteering in Deutschland and it was the best one yet. I will share a few posts about my N-ring experience this being a very brief overview of things that took place over the four day weekend there.

nurburgring 24h posten 120

I was once again on my favorite part of the circuit, working Post 120 on the border of Adenau and Breidsheid Ex-Mühle working with our German hosts on a Belgian team with my friend Pol. Once again we had an excellent time on track and off, with the familiar restaurants easy walk from our camping area.

nordschleife adenau breidcheid

nurburgring lada sport wtcc nordschleife

But there were a lot of different things this year too. For one, WTCC – World Touring Car Championship played a support role for the 24h race, which was great. What a smart thing to do for the organizers, instead of competing for the same racing fans like last year where Pol and I visited Spa-Francochamps where WTCC was set to race on the same weekend as the 24h race on the Nordschleife, they organized the event together this year, and I think it was a successful endeavor. Although the 3 lap WTCC races seemed quite short, from a spectators perspective… at 20km per lap I’m sure it was business as usual for the drivers.

nurburgring pig on a spit post 120

The pig was cool… for sure! I’ve never had anything like that before.

nurburgring pig on a spit breidcheid

We were super close to all the action, and as usual spend an excellent time visiting the paddock area with full access to the garages and the fine machinery racing over the weekend.

nurburgring 24h 2015

nurburgring 24h mercedes sls amg garage

The weather this year was excellent. While it was cloudy and at times rainy it was very pleasant and contributed to cleaner racing I think. Far fewer incidents this year compared to last year. And as a result our post received less visitors with problems. The most notable one was the green Bentley Continental GT3 getting dragged off the track with major front end damage. But after getting trucked back to the garage it rejoined the race after the repair.

nurburgring 24h team marc vds bmw z4

All in all I am extremely happy with this trip. It has been a great journey across four countries including a quick visit to Finland on the flight over, a few nights in Brussels in Belgium which is one of my favorite places to visit in Europe, a quick stop in Holland to buy some cakes for our group dinner at the Nurburgring and of course Germany. I would really love to go back next year and would recommend the event to anybody that’s interested in racing.

12 hours of Bathurst debrief

So my first marshalling event at Mount Panorama for the LiquiMoly 12 hours of Bathurst went exceptionally well. There were some hicups, like for example: having arrived with a bit of a cold/flu bug, some jetleg and pure exhaustion from 14-16 hour days on my feet, I was not in top form at all. Besides being sick I had a wardrobe malfunction when my brand new Sketchers melted off their soles on the first day I wore them. I’m sure I should write a letter to someone for that. But in terms of racing it was a fantastic event at a fantastic track.

I was stationed at flag point #11 for the weekend, which is on the Brock Skyline just before the “Dippah” which is a fast and curvy way down the mountain. For a short time I went to help out on flag point #13 directly below us to let the guys go on break, but where we were it was an excellent spot for blue flag and to watch the race overall, as you can very clearly see all the way down the mountain including the main straight and the paddock area. 

We had no major incidents throughout the weekend though the station before and the station after us had a few visitors. I managed to snag some pics of cars going past us on my break, which was a nice thing encouraged by the local sector chief (something they normally advise you against, the usual no camera/picture taking routine).

Would love to be back for another event here! Though this time without the cold/flu!

bathurst mount panorama

bathurst narra photography

Photo courtesy of Narra Photography (official photog of the officials): http://www.narraphotography.com.au/p905204173

mount panorama bathurst

bathurst skippy

(notice the skyppy along the fence trying to escape)

bathurst australian gt