Apr 27, 2019

Jenny Craigslist

Okay,


867-5309.  Jenny Jenny, you're the girl for me.

So in theory, selling the M3 was a good idea. but I lost a valuable pastime.  Tinkering in the garage was quite therapeutic and tinkering with the Porsche gets me broke pretty quickly.   Frankly if I could turn back time I'd get the M3 back and discard the Porsche.   But that's not news, I've regretted buying AND selling every damn car I've ever owned.   Why would the M3 be any different?  Oh, and did I mention the Raptor I bought?   Never blogged about that minor diversion.

 A blank template.   22K miles is nothing for these motors.

So I needed a project that was primarily elbow grease and minimal outlay of the Benjamins (that's hipster talk for money).   So I pulled the trigger on this 22K mile goldwing.  Since its an unexciting Japanese motorcycle, it should be mechanically sound albeit aesthetically unpleasing. 

The goal was to lose some serious weight from this porky bitch machine.
Hence the name Jenny Craig was born and quickly morphed to Jenny Craigslist.

I grabbed some cash and took an Uber to Denver after confirming the bike was capable of driving home in its current state.    Once home, I found it did indeed run quite well, but the electrical as well as countless little things needed addressing.  Like any 40+ yr old person it has seen better days but can still satisfy you if you are drunk or squint when looking at her.
Undoing a history of unqualified wiring "improvements" is a blast.
I've screwed up plenty of wiring, so I can spot bad work quickly.
This was just the mental health distraction I needed.  Why pay a therapist $150/hr when you can just tinker on a motorcycle every evening for free.   Well, "free"  might be a tad inaccurate if you check my eBay and Amazon.com history.  But hey,  I've been through a lot this past year and need this distraction.  I wonder if I get a doctor's prescription, will my insurance pay for these parts?

1. Rectify improper wiring to starter, headlights and turn signals.
2. Buy turn signals and tail lights.
First, get Jenny naked and check her out.. 
Rules to live by in any relationship.
Yes indeed, 40+ years did take a small toll on dear old Jenny.   The cables needed attention, tires were old, and forks were weeping slightly.  Lights were all gone, or broken, exhaust leaking, cellulite (just checking to see if you are reading).   Overall through, I wouldn't kick Jenny out of bed if I woke to finder her there.   She's not too shabby for her age.    Jenny's got character and she needs me to save here just like she is saving me.   Too sappy?  I'll tone it down.

Internally routed wires are cleaner looking for sure, so a must.
But damn  they are hard to do with a dremel and a cordless drill.
If I wasn't' so cheap I could have paid to have them pre-drilled.

Everyone is doing a cafe bike these days, and fenderless bobbers bore me.  My initial thinking was some sort of straight bar flat-tracker tribute.  Some super-small saddle would work nicely and cool shocks or a hardtail conversion.   
Instead of cutting the exposed end or removing the fender entirely
I cut the forward edge, then rotated the tail section forward.  
3. Buy fork seals
4. But starter switch for donor parts
5. Buy tachometer for donor parts
6. Buy seat
7. Buy handlebar, grips and end caps
You cannot buy a new starter button,
but I like tiny impossible rebuilds.
8. Buy motor oil, collant, gear oil and brake fluid
9. Buy shocks and fork seals.
10. Buy tire$

Had to learn to weld to do this,  you should see all the scraps I practiced on.
Sometimes looking good comes with a cost.  Once completed I have found that this tiny saddle could easily lead to a broken tooth or spinal damage.  The shocks look sweet, but don't work much like shocks.   I'm thinking perhaps a mouthguard would be a wise investment,  I've also ordered seat springs that are coming soon.
Rebuilding tachometers is not as hard as you think.
 Buy a spare on eBay first if only to show you what you screwed up.
11. buy throttle cable
12. buy digital flasher relay
13. buy speedometer cable
14. buy tachometer cable

Fancy looking shocks, but they are one stiff-ass ride.
Check out the nifty LED tail light.  I'm so cool.
Rear fender is now mounted ON TOP of the frame.
This will look better as it flows beneath the new seat.
Gold Calipers, a period correct color.
New fork seals are not as hard to install as you might think.
I was disappointed no vintage looking tires were readily available.  Frankly nothing was available except expensive Pirelli Knight Dragons.  I couldn't confirm existing tire age,  they had no miles on them, but were probably 20 yrs old.   Unsafe.   Luckily these are now radials  for it now, which my chiropractor appreciates. 
Straight bar and brown grips to match the saddle.
Ran a wire wheel over the clamps to "freshen" them.

You think you want a classic till you realize it adds 4 minutes to your drive to Starbucks to warm up every morning.  So how's it ride?   Well it's got long legs, meaning it likes to cruise at higher speeds, typical of a Goldwing. 
Saddle is a brutal ride, but looks perfect.  
How did anyone get anywhere in these old bikes?  The think gets about 9 miles per gallon, so the range is quite short given the tank is small and hidden under the seat.  I've run out of gas twice already due to stupidity and my inability to read a gas gauge or use the reservoir properly.
Jenny is an Emotional Support Vehicle.
So I can take her INSIDE the grocery store.
Left over paint,  now that's thrifty isn't it?   I'd originally planned to prime the panels and pay a painter to spray the bike whatever color was readily available during a car respray.  But the primer I used on my BMW R100RS last year looked pretty darn good.  So I sprayed some clear coat left over my the M3's wheel refinishing right over the primer.  Perfect is not the goal here,  character is the goal.  Speaking of character, check out that faded Honda logo on the rear fender above.  It is from the original dealership in Florida, circa 1977.
Shake down run.  Note I didn't install the all-too-common license relocator system.
Instead I modified the OEM plate mount to recycle it on the fender. 
The best part about riding the bike is the stops.  Watching hipsters appreciate it from the sidewalk.  Letting people take my photo at traffic lights, etc. My favorite. is the older guys telling me stories about when they had one.   Now, to find a CBX.... Hehe



Whenever I ride her that song goes through my head over and over again.   If you are as old as this bike you'll know the song I mean.     This would  be the perfect project if only it was a car. 

Sold nearly immediately to Shane via Craigslist,  Enjoy Shane, she's a good woman.


Dec 23, 2018

What's my car worth? BMW E36 M3/4/5



My stable needs an AWD for my personal winter coolness.  As a poor blogging pharmacist, the M3 may just have to be the car to fund it.  Please comment on the blog, or suggest a value, a trade, send me money or just call me an asshole.

Tiny spoiler is off a E46, but it's applied with tape,
You can peel it off if it offends your sensibilities. 

If it was for sale the add would look like this......................

For Sale:  Made FAMOUS BY THIS BLOG.  MY 1997 M3 4 door 5 speed sedan 116,000 miles and climbing.  All those nagging little projects have been done.  Apparently, I forgot it snows in Colorado. 


This is the car in current state.  Just outside of Estes Park, my favorite Saturday drive.
Saturday drives and cars and coffee is all I do.  I don't have the nerves for  track days
Please note there are no pizza delivery guys or teenagers in it's ownership history.  No offense intended, I'm a big fan of both for different reasons.
  • Owner 1.  ER manager at Seattle hospital
  • Owner 2.  ER physical at same hospital
  • Owner 3.  Pharmacist at Boulder hospital. (Me)

You can see here all the Dinan shocks, springs, sway and muffler.
Dinan is a great compromise between streetable and sporty feel. 
After all, they sold their stuff through most dealerships.

It is not a Carfax virgin, which can put off some folks.  I bought it because the condition was exceptional, not because the Carfax was exceptional. The was struck by a grocery cart, wielded by an angry vagrant in 2007.  Opportunity to paint the entire car and address years of scuffs and scratches presented itself.  So it's been resprayed pretty darn well.

This photo shows the Motorsport belts, but there are other things to admire.
Note the condition of the arm rest, the door panel & the seats side bolsters.
Please note: I'm showing you the worst seat, the driver seat.
Service history: This cars had the privilege of attentive, financially capable ownership.  It is evidenced by a binder thick with original purchase paperwork, maintenance history and repair documentation.  I personally, love service paperwork, just because it shows the owners were obsessed with the car's care. 


  1. Dinan intake, the original carbon not the new crappy ones.  
  2. Dinan Strut Tower brace.  just  front one.  Sedan's w/out a pass through, like this one) are the most rigid M3's you can get.
  3. Dinan Sway bars, front and rear.
  4. Dinan Suspension front and rear.
  5. Dinan Exhaust, not too loud but sounds better than stock.
  6. Dinan short shifter
  7. Dinan pedal kit
  8. BMW Motorsports seat belts.
  9. Aluminum Radiator & upgraded waterpump.  
  10. Kenwood radio well matched to interior coloring.  Pandora, IOS, handsfree etc.   
    1. Installed w/adapter so not a single wire has been cut.  OEM radio included 
  11. M3 Roadster x-brace.  (you know what that is? then this might be the car for you)
  12. Three spoke steering wheel conversion. 
  13. BMW factory alarm system w/remotes
  14. Recent window tint
Stickers are blasphemous I know.  But they come off and I like em.
These are not pristine wheels, but they are pretty darn presentable

Also of note
  • Original window sticker.
  • New plugs
  • New oil
  • New filters: oil, air, interior air
  • New O2 Sensors (Meister Motorworks, Seattle)
  • New seals (I don't like leaky cars)
  • New wipers
  • New clutch  (Glen Shelly, CO)
  • New tail OEM lights  (cheap replacements trigger a service engine alert)
  • New BMW badges, floor mats & many small interior, exterior and engine trim pieces etc
  • New A/C (Dynamic European Service, CO
  • I've had the dent people run through and correct tiny imperfections.
  • Ignition switch issues don't exist. Been there, done that.
  • Door actuator issues don't exist. Been there, done that.
  • Blower motor doesn't rattle.  Been there, done that
New floor mats.  What kind of moron pays $250 for Dinan pedals.
I'm that moron

What you'll need to do
  • If you plan to drive daily, I bet you'll need new tires in 12 months.
  • If you park outdoors (god I hope not) I bet you will need a new Idle control motor too.  When super cold, the idle control feels sluggish.  ($150 for the good ones, $50 for the cheap ones) 


Professionally detailed.
Seriously, I have removed all trim and scrubbed this car to the bone.




Car and it's roommate.  
No, I don't want to sell.  But i'm not Jay Leno, and if I want a new car, something's go to go.
If I can't afford to fund something interesting I can experiment with snow tires and mud flaps
Back seats, that's why people buy these.  Kids actually fit.
I've tested it, and yes you will find cookie crumbs if you look

So, now you've seen it.
A Dinan badge worthy package
Manual transmission
Sedan, not coupe
Black leather, not grey or white.







    Dec 11, 2018

    12 easy steps to ruining a cars originality.

    I bought a 40-Anniversary Carrera because it was an amazing amount of car for an amazing price not as an investment.  I am not afraid to change things up as long as the work is somewhat reversible.  You know, in case I need to sell it to fund a hemorrhoidectomy or something.

    Black accents, Lower, Louder, & Big brakes. I'm done for now.
    I'd like to think Porsche could have offered such a car in 2004. 
    With just 35,000 miles on the odometer and 25,000 on the motor (IMS failure) the car is practically new and was priced to sell.   Finding any X51 power package equipped 996 with this mileage is pretty unlikely so that makes me a fancy-pants guy.


    I'd say the Carrera T is my benchmark.  Not overly powerful, but well sorted  for Touring.
    It comes with something odd, a warranty.   What would I do without the worry of breakage?


    In an ideal world, I'd live in an RV and get a loan for a new Carrera T.  I've always wanted a new unscratched Carrera.   The 996 is as close as I'm gonna get in this lifetime.  And like any new sports car, it isn't an investment, so let's piss off the traditionalists, shall we?


    Here are my 12 steps to ruining the originality of my car.  

    1. Sell the exclusive 40AE luggage to fund this blog

    Buying the most maligned Carrera of our time left me with money left over but not enough.  So I sold off the exclusive 40 AE luggage to have even more money to play with.  I know I'll kick myself later, but bipolar car disorders come with some regrets.


    Ash, enjoy them!    They were sold for some worthy causes below


    2. Embrace the 996 Headlights.

    I am NOT going to deal with those fried egg lights.  Something this polarizing must be celebrated.  Think of it as Cindy Crawford's mole, but two of em.

    I'm going full-on with #FriedEggPride

    3.  Pay tribute to the past with Cocomats.  

    These old-school mats were common in German cars 40 years ago like Carreras and 356s.   I think they have a place in an Anniversary Edition car.  Made of woven coconut fibers, we are recycling all that coconut water consumed by hipsters.  


    Custom a back window deck , just cut a template and mailed it to them.

    Black and white hides Oreo crumbs well.  Good thing.
    4. Enhance wheel appearance with overpriced rotors.

    The OEM wheels are too good to replace so I opted to enhance behind them instead. Giro-Discs are pretty, and the notable braking improvement was a side benefit.

    Bigger, lighter, floating design. 
    Better than black, but not quite red or yellow.  Painted em blue.  


    5. Porsche Sport Exhaust, sort of.Porsche failed by not adding a powerful exhaust note to match the more powerful X51 motor package.   I have rectified this with Fister HD's muffler mod.  For 10% the cost of the sport exhaust option ($4500) you get the same design w/o the ability to turn it off.   Who the hell would turn it off?  
    Recent PCA tour, Bruce's Seal Grey 996's ride height put me to shame. 
    Something had to be done, and fast.
    6 Stance Stance Stance, $400 The 40 Jahre had the good sport suspension option included but being in the USA they were forced to make it a monster truck for DOT compliance. Some geniuses suggest I need new shocks designed to match my 1/2" drop in height.  RUF and I disagree.  



    RUF springs are same spring rate, just a tad lower.
    Fister's don't need ceramic coating but I couldn't resist.

    7. Making the car recognizable Porsche went all out with a silver that's 10% different, Whoopie Do!   Although GT Silver was an exclusive color, it isn't that distinctive. I solved this with a few hideous satin black accents for bedazlementation.  I'll try to pass them off as OEM. 

    Inspired by the new 991T decal.  I think these are pretty understated.
     others have likened it to a tatoo on my face.  Each to his own I guess
    Man Cave hooked me up with my "blackening"  thanks guys.
    At least now I can find my car during PCA club drive events.
    8. Vanity Plates
    It's easier for fill out Hotel forms if you have a plate you can memorize. 
    40 Jahre is German for 40 Fast years




     


    9. RUF Wheels. 

    If/when I'm stupid enough to buy them, I'll get them painted darker grey too. For now I'm skipping this step.  See, I'm not completely insane.

    I know they aren't much to look at, but i'm sure with a a good color selection, they will be amazing
    https://rufautomobiles.com/product/ruf-18-inch-wheel-kit-for-porsche-996/




    10. Fancy pedals make you feel cool.
    One night soon, I'll cave and buy these pedal covers from RUF.   Along with the RUF dead pedal cover, that they brilliantly sell separately.


    Image result for ruf pedal covers
    Maybe someday RUF will get the website certificate right and the links will work.


    11. Fancy navigation and back up camera.  
    Be real, nobody harkens back to 2004 and fondly remembers poor navigation systems.   It's not a crime to update a radio in a 996 like it might be in a 50's Speedster.   That said, it's cool goodies like this that make you get a loan and just buy new.   It's nearly $4000 to put high end system in right.*  Thats money you will never get out of an automobile, so for a guy that rarely keeps a car for 2 sets of tires, I cannot afford this kind of indulgence.

    * By high end I mean Apple Play, Garmin NAV (no data signal required), hidden GPS antenna and camera parking technology.  You can do less, but for me it would be all or nothing.   Porsche used fiber optics in this car, which adds $ and complexity.  Perhaps specialized "MOST" adapters are a way to save here,  I am still waiting on Proof of this concept but many installers I've spoke with won't warranty them and fader control is lost. Any audiophile would want more power since Porsche's amps are under powered in their minds.
    Related image
    Porsche used fiber optics in the 2004 Carrera, so retrofitting fancier radios is hard.
    So hard that i'll keep my money and buy a iPhone mount instead.
    If you are balling after xmas call Rod  https://cai-store.com/ he drives a 996 

    11a.  iPhone Mount.
    This I can do. And since its from Suncoast, a Porsche specialty company, it costs $45 instead of $10.  Worth every penny.  iPHone mount,   cheap thrills

    Magnetic Phone Mount - 996/986
    Worth every penny.  iPHone mount,   cheap thrills 

    12. Make your passengers comfortable.
    While Porsche sells a child seat, you really want one w/out armrests.  It makes it easier to reach the buckles.


    Maxi-Cosi Rodifix is a better fit than anything I've seen before. 








    Sep 19, 2018

    Why the hell would anyone buy a 996? The loophole explained.



    Because it’s a genius idea, that’s why.   A $100,000 car for the price of a new Accord is the definition of a loophole people!  Naturally it’s controversial, but that is why its so genius.  
    40th Anniversary Edition is Porsche's successful attempt to make something special.
    Faster than the Carrera S or 4S, this narrow car is the “40 Jahre 911” (#1008 of 1963)  
    Still quite attainable, the 40 Jahre will catch on like every other special P-Car does. 

    Oh I've heard them, bitching about water cooling, IMS, RMS, headlights etc.  Change is never easy, but I've gotten my head out of my ass and bought one.  I can hear them now.

    “Hey Mark, how the hell did Adam get back into the car club?”
    “He bought a 996, so we had to let him in, technically it is a Carrera.”

    In addition to fancy badges, the 40 Jahre had a very fancy X51 performance engine, fancy suspension,
    fancy painted interior trim, fancy colored leather, fancy alcantara headliner, fancy paint from the Carrera GT, 
    fancy turbo front bumper and fancy wheels.  Fancy fancy fancy.



    Engineering flaws have drug the prices down, much further than the real risk.

    The 996 wasn’t developed directly from racing as earlier cars were.  That showed in engine reliability which people rightfully fear.  If you want details tough, I can’t share because its bad luck to speak or write about.  Short version:  Bearings and cylinders should not fail, and when they do it aint cheap.  If one understands the risks going into a purchase he/she can get one hell of an automobile for his dollar.  Understanding the risks means reading all the shitty blogs (like his one) and having a plan, not just crossing your fingers.

    These risks are real and would keep any car guy up at night.  Shop for cars that have the scariest issues already mitigated or budget to mitigate them yourself.  But don't fear everything,  the internet and paranoia has made people a little nutty here.  Each situation is more unique than you might think, so get some guidance on the car in question and pay for that advice.  Meaning, free advise is worth what you paid for it.  If the issues still keep you up at night buy a warranty, get a Kia Stinger or just take Ambien like I will. 

    I’ve personally forgiven Porsche for the unreliability of the past 20 years   That’s not to say I feel the 996 is equal to its predecessors; it isn’t.  Frankly, those incredible predecessors are gone for me, so   I've stopped looking back at cars with crappy a/c and scary handling.  Look forward at the $12-30,000 Carreras on Craigslist right now. The time to strike is last year.   Oh, and dare I say it....

    These cars are also superior to their predecessors in many ways too.   Let the hate mail begin.
    Clearly visible here the 40 Jahre has no 996 cylinder issues due to the enhancement of the X51 package.  
    For those unfamiliar with Carreras: the engine is between the luggage and the spare. 
    IMS and RMS issues inherent to 996's have been addressed on this one..  
    Lastly,  the Porsche Anniversary luggage set makes me feel fancy inside.  



    The available body colored hard back sport seats are NOT ugly?  They are however, uncomfortable.

    They are ugly and like strippers, ugly does not fetch top dollar.

    True, but they’re only ugly because they’re so unattractive.   Those headlights suck and Porsche back pedaled with the 997's design due to the outcry. That back pedaling sealed the 996's fate as the ugliest Carrera in history. Now that hideousness can be your savior in the form of savings.    For me, I wear bifocals now, so who really cares?

    The ugliest Carrera ever made is not necessarily the ugliest sports car ever made. At the end of the day it is still a freaking Porsche and it’s a spectacular sports car.  Just park far from the 993's at Cars and Coffee.



    Truthfully, I think the headlights are actually attractive, just different.  Relax, it's just a f#!king headlight, not a nose-ring.

    Speaking of ugly,  why didn't Porsche upgrade the brakes to fill out behind the wheel better? 
    Stay tuned for my plan.

    They are middle aged, and nobody likes that.  Not even middle aged people

    These have hit the bottom of their market.  Couple that w/a bottom that is lower than warranted due to hideousness and unreliability and you get you end up with the loophole of which I'm speaking.  You have got to know the shittiest Porsche is still one of the coolest cars in the world.  People are paying $30,000 for VW powered 914's for crying out loud!  I’m not going to build a chart for you because I've lost my crayons, but wouldn’t your rather own a Carrera?  

    Here’s how to look at it to fully embrace my genius.  Stop comparing  996's to older and newer Carreras and compare them to sports cars you can afford.  Which do you want?  Can you mitigate the risks to your satisfaction? Do you have sleeping pills?  If you buy carefully, and plan ahead for the unexpected you can drive an amazing car and we can then be friends, because you'll be cool like me.    

    996 40 Jahre rear badge is unique, as are the body colored rear bumpers.
    I
    In this world of over sensitivity, I''ll clarify for the sarcasm-challenged.  I think the car is magnificent looking.  It is a tremendous automobile,  to drive it is a pure joy, especially when driving fast.  My son fits in the back and spending time together w/him in the 996 will be some of the happiest moments I've had in a while.

    Quality information instead of smart ass remarks can be found at  The 40 Jahre Story