Bimmer BBQ Bash: BMW Social Club of LA

The BMW Social Club of LA is a brand new group and their first BBQ meet up occurred on January 28th in Glendale, California. There were only five of us but the food was good and the company was car enthusiest oriented.

Now I’m not technically in Los Angeles but it’s close enough, as is San Diego, for me to make the drive out. What’s the point of having a diesel if you don’t wind her out on the highway? All of the vehicles present were gasoline powered, as expected. There were two M235i, a 335i, and a 340i, as well as my 328d. Everyone was curious about mileage and my experience. Diesel is still unusual in this community and modding is almost considered to be Sci-Fi. The aftermarket is starting to pick up a little but with strict emissions requirements and government regulation, it’s slim pickins. Anywho, it was a great even and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Round trip was roughly 130 miles. I averaged roughly 34.5 mpg in D-Sport at 80mph, as much as possible. There was a ton of traffic on this trip so average speed was quite low and the full potential of the drive wasn’t possible. The return drive was actually through the city opposed to the highway as it saved 55 minutes. SoCal traffic is real.

VW TDI Buyback: Money Inbound

With this TDI Buyback process coming to an end, I was thinking about how wonderful it is to be complete. I’ve stayed informed on other experiences with the buyback and not all of them have been pleasant. Some have experienced constant delays, lack of communication from Volkswagen, some even reported that the email for payment never came. That’s a major concern! However, my experience has been great. My claim was submitted “Johnny on the Spot” style so that could have something to do with it, it was submitted within a few days of VW accepting applications.

The car was turned in on Friday, January 20th. Payment instructions were to be received within 1-3 banking days. Monday, January 23rd I received the email from Chase. Once registered and information submitted, the funds were available the next day. It’s been very smooth, though something of a hassle to deal with paperwork, faxes, a notary public. Sure this is just “adulting”, but if VW engineers hadn’t lied and cheated, none of this would have been necessary. Either way, the F30 BMW is a new adventure and I’m looking forward to adding many miles to the odometer.

Bimmerpost San Diego Coding Workshop

Some guys on Bimmerpost wanted to get together and have something of a coding workshop. The idea is to transfer the software and give a little guidance on how to use it. This event was set to happen in San Diego, which for me is about 80 miles or so one way. I haven’t been able to let the car really stretch her legs yet and 80 miles isn’t much, but it will be a nice drive.

On the way down, I set the cruise control to 78MPH in D-Sport(auto/sport). The trip mileage indicated 40.1mpg at 76 miles on the way down.

On the way back, I set the cruise control for 80MPH in M8-Sport(manual/sport). I wanted the car to be in 8th gear, why have one if it would never be used. (Sport mode only uses 7 gears to give better performance and response) I tried putting the car in comfort mode but it tracked all over the road with the steering being extremely light and very direct. Manual mode it is to keep the heavy steering feel of Sport mode. The day average was now 41.4mpg at 164 miles. Went way past the house to a burger place to meet up with my lady friend.

Finally back home. Cruise on the way home wasn’t necessarily tracked, more traffic and less cruise control. Final end of day trip was 40.1mpg at 188 miles. Not terrible, but a few mpg lower than I hoped for. The drive was fairly hilly, if you know the 5 South to San Diego. I dealt with a bit of traffic  here and there and certainly floored it a few times off the highway. This average is good, also considering that the motor is still very low mileage and very not broken in. I’m fairly happy with these results and look forward to recording more trips.

VW TDI Buyback: Car Turned In

I always have a tough time letting go of cars that I’ve owned for a long period of time. I form attachments, as silly as it sounds, so it’s difficult when it comes time to sell. The day has finally come to turn in the TDI. The process was mostly smooth, though there were hiccups.

Currently, there is a drought in California. It doesn’t rain. Period. It’s been tough. Since I purchased my F30 Diesel, it’s been raining every 2-3 days. Now this is great for us. Yay water. But, my brand new car hasn’t been washed in months.  It’s terrible, but I refuse to go out in the cold and hand wash when it’s just going to rain the next day. Anywho. The turn in date for my car was January 20. There were some items I needed to grab from the vehicle before heading off to the dealership. I brave the torrential rain, yes, it’s raining, to run out into my flooded street and get into the car. Since the street is partially flooding, I didn’t want to stand in a river of water to sort through the car.

I press the start button and make sure the glow plugs don’t need to run, I haven’t been driving the car so it’s dead cold in the rain.  I press the clutch, hold start and she fires right up. I smile for a second thinking of all the people that have posted horror stories about their batteries going dead from letting the car sit for only a week. Mine sits for weeks at a time and has only seen sub two mile drives a half dozen times since I bought the F30. I pull the car into my very sloped driveway and shut her down. I sort through the car, still in the rain but not soaking in a river, and gather everything I needed. My appointment is in roughly 30 minutes. I have plenty of time at this point and feel really good about being on time, even with this weather situation. Anyone that knows Southern California traffic knows that it can be ten times worse when it rains. Garage closed, check, front door locked, check, hop back into the car and hit the start button. Dash lights cycle and radio kicks on. I push the clutch and press the start button, rapid fire clicking and dash lights flashing with the dash stating NO KEYFOB.

My stomach sinks. Are you serious? If this show doesn’t get on the road, we’re not going to make it on time. A souvenir may or may not have been removed from under the hood, hence the river and move the car to the driveway business. Immediately I consider that I’ve knocked something loose or triggered something that needs reset in the car. Just what I needed, something with unknown origin and no time to research or diagnose, in the rain. The hood gets popped and all the connections around the affected area were double checked. There wasn’t much so I wasn’t feeling great when another attempt to start yielded same results.

At this point, we’re only 5 minutes late. Alright, think. It’s not connections under the hood. It can’t be the remote battery because it was recently changed. Did the key fob go bad in the 5 minutes from the first time it was started and the second time I tried to start it? I mean, that could just be my luck? What else could it be though? I try to start the car a few more times hoping that maybe fairies had come to fix it while I wasn’t looking. No go, and it was clicking slower, lights dimming. The battery. Seriously? Of all times, in all places, just after I smugly chuckled at all the people that have had trouble while I haven’t. After it started just fine to move into the driveway? Fine.

When I moved here three years ago, I gave away 85% of the stuff I had sitting around in my garage. This included four craftsman battery trickle charger/starter helpers and at least two sets of jumper cables. Glad I gave those all away. /me adds jumper pack to a purchase list somewhere. As luck would have it, my neighbors have a bunch of dirt bikes and quads, they should have a jumper pack no problem. I run over and knock. Dog barks. No answer. Of course nobody is home. It’s Friday morning. I run to the next house as we’ve been introduced prior. Ring the doorbell. Wait. Wait. Nothing. *sigh* My options are running out and I’m supposed to be arriving in about 10 minutes.

Back at the house the ideas start flowing. There are places nearby that will sell jump packs. Get the F30 out of the garage and buy one, jump the TDI, doneso. Good plan, save the part where the TDI is parked in the middle of the driveway. Doofus. It doesn’t start so it won’t be easy to get back into a safe spot by myself. Whatever, gotta do something. I roll the car out into the street as gently as possible, then push the car into a spot near the sidewalk. Shouts to the three cars that drove buy and didn’t offer to help a guy push a car slightly up hill by himself in the rain. I’m now soaked as it never stopped raining during all this process. I’m starting to sweat a bit. Progress. Time to hop in the F30 and pick up some parts, or so I thought.

Just about this time, the second neighbor that I tried to reach came walking down the street. Apparently they have a fancy video recorder doorbell that she could see who came by when they didn’t answer. We make with the niceties and I mention that I was in need of jumper cables. Not only did she have some, but she threw me the keys so I could use her SUV to get the car going again. (can’t lie, that’s amazing. I wasn’t excited about jumping off the F30) The VW is running, everything is locked up, I’m only 10 minutes late to the appointment. Time to go.

As I’m driving I have hands free dial the dealership to confirm that I’m still coming. They say no problem. I battle some traffic and arrive at the dealership 15 minutes later. Honestly, the rest of the process of fairly boring. The ambassador took pictures of all sides of the car, the dash, the VIN, and asked me to start the vehicle.(crossed my fingers, but it had enough of a drive to regen so the battery was charged right?) Everything checked out. I had to sign two papers. One relates to power of attorney to sign the title for transfer. The other is the agreement to “sell” the car back to VW. The numbers all checked out. I sign everything. The ambassador goes over the money process. I expect to have the money by mid week. I walk out with some paperwork and a license plate.

Surprisingly, this wasn’t nearly as tough as I expected it to be. Maybe I had already made peace with what was happening so it wasn’t a major shock when it did. Maybe the F30 is too nice of a vehicle and the TDI is unmissable after spending a few months in something nicer. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve gotten choked up when certain vehicles left my possession. I thought this would have been one of them, but it wasn’t. After all the amazing times I’ve had in that car, it just wasn’t enough to secure that long term standing as memorable. She’s gone now, but not forgotten.

Here is a little bonus Bug that was in the dealer while I waited for Uber. Amazing car, though not for sale.