View Full Version : A little thingy in my car almost caused it to be destroyed.

Loose rivets
8th Aug 2016, 23:38
It's an insignificant little rectangle almost hidden away in the assumption it will only ever be pressed by Jeremy Clarkson or a bloke in Essex calling himself Loose rivets.

Not 100 yards from my home, in a road I protest should be 20mph limited, (schools, shops and masses of old people) is a T junction. Since young people are allowed to drive cars, old people are nervous about pulling out of that junction into my road. However, given their life-expectancy isn't all that great anyway, they know they have to pull out some time, and in this instance an old chap (probably nearly as old as me) and his wife were waiting to pull out as I crawled towards them. He came a little way out and stopped . . . until I was right in his sights. Then he accelerated harder than anyone, anyone that is except an old-timer who is on the first promise he's had for five years, could possibly command of his family saloon. He was all set to wipe the entire starboard side of my new toy from front to stern. i.e., write it off. Never fear, from my hard-driving and biking days, I had a cunning plan.

I stood on the power during the violent manoeuvre to the left knowing that by the time I drop the my vessel onto it's port springs the power will be up and the tail will flick to the left. That was the plan.

Way, way down in the depths of my car's electro-intellect, it was lazily carrying out a plan that had been instilled into it some moths before its birth. It had no similarity whatsoever with my plan.

Another innovation reflecting the character of the BMW 6 Series is Active Roll Stabilization. This suspension control system features active anti-roll bars with hydraulic swivel motors on the front and rear axle, enabling the car to almost completely eliminate body roll movements in bends and in a sudden change of direction. A further benefit is appropriate control of the car’s steering behavior in a lane change or in hard maneuvers serving to avoid an obstacle on the road.

and for some hours of self-imposed brisk driving-training on Sunday, I'd assumed it was cos it was as hard as a skateboard and had no springs to allow roll.:*

The next thing I see is the parked car looming up exactly on a line that I'd selected but expected to not be on. That's the nature of intending to get things a bit crossed up, as one learns, over many years of looking out of side windows, to expect things to be where they're not expected. And that's in the nature of proper driving. Or more correctly: driving proper cars. At least now the thing went where I wanted to avoid the parked thing and slowed in an instant back from . . . whatever velocity it had got to with a twin turbo motor that seems to not only have no lag, but to anticipate your every move and hit the back of the car with a giant's mallet - albeit, one made with marshmallow.

But it gets worse. This computer thing, it gets worse.

Offering a wide range of functions, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) supports the driver in the process of handling his BMW safely and with superior style. First and foremost, DSC can apply the brakes individually on the car’s various wheels as required, or intervene in engine management in order to counteract any over- or understeer in bends.

Superior style??!! It made me look a total Papa Romeo @ tango.

I was in front of a sporty little BMW. It had the lid down and the occupants looked as sporty as their car. I maintained a fair lick around several nice B road bends. That was until I found someone apart from me was driving my car. I let the sporty couple go past and hid my face from their disapproving gazes.

It wasn't that I, or the car, had done anything we weren't supposed to do, but it seems we were both supposed to do different things for this set of bends.

I really could feel a sense of being not in command, in much the same way that an Airbus captain is not in command . . . when his Give me my Effin' Plane Back button fails to hand back to him.

I could set my Oldsmobile 88 into wondrous (if rather costly) drifts in 1960. E-Types, did what I expected - at least until a drop link fell off the anti-roll bar and then I did notice a view of tar-Macadam whizzing by in the passenger window. (A phew moment, and two old pennies drilled to make washers should the next rubber bushes become un-vulcanized. But the point is, I know to expect the unexpected, providing I'm the one that caused them to happen and just didn't expect them because I'd chosen not to. Now I'm in an Airbus world, and I don't like it.

Driving back from one of my long after dinner walks along Walton's Naze, I felt very disenchanted. My car's okay-ish, but that's not what I wanted. Gloom was gravitating into my socks when I noticed a Bentley Coupe parked on the seafront. For some unknown reason, I stopped and walked back to it.

Perhaps I should say at this moment, I'm just 90 seconds, when being propelled by petrol, from the point I was first (legally) on a British road and these feelings have beset me since my first car was sold for war materials, erm, in the war. Yes, one had to peddle it, but I loved it and cried when it went. But here I am, looking at one of the most self-indulgent cars on the surface of the planet. I memorized the private reg and tootled home with rekindled enthusiasm.

HOW MUCH!!?? Or should I be saying, HOW LITTLE!?. I had no idea one could get anything like this for such a small sum. Huge V-power, well over 500hp, stuffed into the road on all four wheels. Big comfy seats! Full service histories and preposterously low miles. And lots to chose from. Oh, I know why folk can't do the miles, they do about the same gas-milage as my Mk9 Jaguar, but heck, I don't get out much, and I could put up with a little van most of the time.

0 - 60 in 4.6 seconds, and big comfy seats. Yeah!


Gertrude the Wombat
8th Aug 2016, 23:47
But it gets worse. This computer thing, it gets worse.

I was in front of a sporty little BMW. It had the lid down and the occupants looked as sporty as their car. I maintained a fair lick around several nice B road bends. That was until I found someone apart from me was driving my car.
You gotta know where the "off" switch is.

Driving a yacht once, it became clear that there was some resonant frequency in the autopilot control loop that just matched the waves we were sailing through, and was doing its best to roll the mast out of her before I found and hit the switch. Shoving the tiller manually backwards and forwards against the waves to keep the boat the right way up was bloody hard work compared to just watching the autopilot play with it, but we survived.

Loose rivets
9th Aug 2016, 00:01
That's another thing. There's not a sporty car I've owned that I didn't find a place to really burn some rubber. Yep, turn the magic button off and have some fun.

Probably not on tires that are notoriously short lived and frighteningly costly.

Yes, I'll play a little, but the places we used to have seemingly are all either being built on, conservation areas, or bird protection egg-laying regions that have open season on humans.

Gosh, that's just reminded me. I was in that @#$%@#$ Mercedes trying it with the oddly named ESP button off. I went for some gas in a Texas filling station and got the hump when the pay at the pump thing failed for the umpteenth time that month. Inside and there's a queue of fat people buying disgusting looking things to make them fatter. I created a very English sounding storm and got served - but still miffed, go into the car fully forgetting all ESPing was cancelled. Mindull of other folk's wellbeing, I applied a petulant amount of power.

Thing about Americans is that they make fantastically smooth concrete. It's like polished glass and the 500 Sport's V8 caused the tyres, erm, tires, to let out a scream the likes of which I'd never heard, let alone caused. It was still echoing under the canopies as I squeaked my way up the road.


9th Aug 2016, 08:42
Or more correctly: driving proper cars

And would the Bentley be any better? You probably won't find anything built this century or the last couple of decades of the previous century that lets us drive it the way we oldies instinctively want to drive it unless you go for something from a small maker - Morgan, perhaps?

Effluent Man
9th Aug 2016, 09:48
Illustrates my line of thinking succinctly. Almost everything fitted to modern luxury cars is superfluous. That includes automatic gearboxes. These things just add weight and cost and in most cases remove what little fun is left in driving.

9th Aug 2016, 15:33
EM. I tend to agree with you except for your aversion to automatic gear boxes. Without some such device MadsMum wouldn't be able to drive at all (couldn't work the clutch).

9th Aug 2016, 17:07
Quite right, MD, I find a clutch very tiring in traffic and when I bought a 5.3 litre classic car I was advised by the broker that the manual clutches were very hard, and even really fit blokes were glad to have the auto. Mine had a shift kit fitted, and for acceleration I'd have had to work hard to beat it with a manual. Only downside is they (older, non-computer controlled autos) don't downshift as you slow down, resulting in a lack of engine braking, and a lag when pulling away as the box shifts down then.

Modern auto boxes don't have this problem and are quite a revelation if you only had previous experience with an older Borg Warner or similar. I hired a VW Tiguan in Hanover not long ago, and the double-clutch gearbox was quite amazing.

9th Aug 2016, 17:11
The TVR just does as it's told - that's why I bought it!

9th Aug 2016, 17:29
I loved my TVR too. However, for real fun you should have bought a DType, DType !!!

9th Aug 2016, 20:05
I'm just chuffed that Rivets says he once had an E-Type.

What a glorious automobile that was!

9th Aug 2016, 20:30
I always thought the most dangerous thing about a car was the nut behind the wheel....:}

Back in the 60s my mate Roy's dad featured in the press as, driving through Purley one day, the steering wheel came off in his hands and he ploughed into a jewellers shop at a fair lick.

A crowd gathered, dragged him out of the car, and gave him a good shoeing as they assumed they had witnessed Purley's (or indeed Britain's) first ever ram raid.

It was the vigilante action that got into the press (The Times no less).

9th Aug 2016, 22:34
That's another thing. There's not a sporty car I've owned that I didn't find a place to really burn some rubber. Yep, turn the magic button off and have some fun.

One of the nicest "sporty cars" I've owned was a 1950s Lotus Elite with 1216cc of Coventry-Climax power and a close-ratio M.G. gearbox. Good for 60mph in 1st gear. Great on a circuit, not so good for traffic-light drag races. Heh, in a Lotus you didn't need to do them! [1] Burning rubber was not on offer.

Should have got a "Best Customer" award from Loctite Corp for the amount of their products I used to keep that car together. But I loved it.

[1] I remember an MGB and myself in a Mini-Cooper S lining up on the "Birmingham-Wolverhampton New Road" where it was three lanes from the traffic lights. Third lane was fronted by a Morris-Minor.

Who got the best gettaway?

Right, oil dropped by the buses, lorries & so on. Yup, the Morris.


Loose rivets
9th Aug 2016, 23:03
I can't believe I'm even thinking of chatting about cars after the two days I've had. I had to get the vacuum pump out of the little 318ti and fit new O rings. Bl:mad:dddddy, So:mad:ing days. After years of experience, I still found it hard to get my fingers down the gap between the engine and the bulkhead and undo the three 10mm bolt that hold it on.

I've been working with tools with string taped to them, and even taped the bolts to the string at one time. It didn't stop me losing one around the entire tablecloth I'd stuffed in the gap. I ended up with the magnetic rod lost and the bolt glued to a bamboo cane to get it out. Later, I lost it again. :ugh: Then I could see it on top of the bell housing, then it slipped down the slope, needing the wheel off and me in full grovelling mode. Then it got worse.

The Rivetess came around with some shopping and was confronted by the grease-ball madman she'd known for 50 years. Probably why she lives up the road. Unfair really, she used to like cars.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/Cars/CarsatNaze085.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/Cars/CarsatNaze085.jpg.html)

Anyway, you'all know how a bad day goes.

Anyway, again. The 850 Mini was shaved to the point it would only run on 5* fuel. Faster than the Jag to 60. The Jag had long legs, but nowhere near as long as the 3.8 E-Type. Un-tuned, it passed 164mph, though there may have been a slight tailwind.

By comparison, my 4.2 was a sluggard, though somewhat more refined. I can't believe it, but I never took one photo of the E's, both of which I sold for 750. White, with chrome wires. And of course, fairly new. :ugh:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/Cars/CarsatNaze083-Copy_zps3eff201c.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/Cars/CarsatNaze083-Copy_zps3eff201c.jpg.html)

I could arrive home, have one of the back axles on the bench ready for a new bearing before I heard the magic, Dinner's ready. I was cheered aboard by my regular passengers one morning when I came up the airstairs with grease up to me elbows. They'd been told I was on my way, and we'd be on time. I'd had to take the distributer off the engine to get at the points.

One carried a lot of tools when one owned a Lotus.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/Cars/LotusEclatfront.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/Cars/LotusEclatfront.jpg.html)

Bloody Nora, that garage! It looks a bit like the workings of my mind.

Loose rivets
9th Aug 2016, 23:17
Extended family didn't do so well in the motor manufacturing business.

They should have stayed in the UK where start up car-making was popular.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/Cars/My%20Brand%20Car_zpshoixavr8.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/Cars/My%20Brand%20Car_zpshoixavr8.jpg.html)

9th Aug 2016, 23:23
Pastry tyres were never going to catch on until there was a nationwide chain of roadside bakers.

9th Aug 2016, 23:49
I don't think it is the clever toys fitted to modern cars that is the real problem, what I find problematic is the optional nature of many of them.
Before doing anything you need to consider which of them is enabled and which is disabled.

When I got my enthusiasts car I decided that I was going to leave all of the toys on their default settings and push the car hard and get used to it the way it is. So, I leave the traction control on, the dynamic stability system on, the torque split on auto etc. I have no proof of this but I suspect that the default settings of these things sets the car up for getting from A to B in the shortest time. I doubt that tearing the tyres to shreds and going sideways round corners actually does anything to speed progress on normal tarmac roads. The only clever driving aid I mess with is the SI Drive, depending upon the mission and traffic conditions. This controls how instantaneous the throttle response is and changes between smooth shopping car mode, sport mode and full on fun mode with the opposite effect on fuel economy. The difference between the settings can catch you out, especially when nipping into gaps in the traffic when turning out of junctions. You really do need to know which setting you are in every time you stomp on the loud pedal.

Loose rivets
9th Aug 2016, 23:56
That was so true in the Caddy SLS. After Texas-sized journeys one just assumed the thing would go when you pressed the pedal, but almost nothing would happen. It took some time to readjust to fat power. I really don't like that, and think it's dangerous. However a small town environment setting makes sense, providing it's selected.

10th Aug 2016, 14:39
Couldn't afford even a replica D Type, but I did consider a replica C Type - until I saw the genuine Lucas electrics.
And I did come first at a racing E Type day at Knockhill race track. The reactions of the women in my life were revealing:- My mother had expected nothing less, my wife was pleasantly surprised, and my young secretary was utterly incredulous.

Effluent Man
10th Aug 2016, 14:48

You and I seem to be inhabiting some kind of parellel universe. Mrs EM decided that my plan to buy an old cottage and build a new house in the garden was a hare brained plan, so she bought an estate house with her share of the proceeds from the sale of our house.

Since beginning the build though she has been a more and more regular visitor, I think she now has designs on the new shack.

Loose rivets
10th Aug 2016, 17:12
I should have got the hint a long time ago. She lived in her T shirt with a penny-farthing and a fish on it. "A woman without a man is like a fish without . . . a bicycle". How droll.

Now she wants to borrow a table for the English g-kid's visit. Oh, deep joy, as Stanly Unwin used to say. I loathe and detest haullin' furniture. :uhoh:

Back to iDrives and daft loss of control of one's thingies.

AC/Heat doesn't work when you press auto. It used to be tweekable on the screen (the screen that blots out navigation and J Clarkson shouted at for doing so.) but then it wouldn't budge. I pulled into the BMW agent to pick up my new 3rd key and thought I'd ask about the problem. Upon checking, it worked normally. Or what I'd grown to believe was normal. Ah, it must be programmed into the key for one's settings thinks I. A lot of car data is in there (they knew my brakes were at 3mm) so why not comfort settings? Seems logical. I drive away only to find I'm not only showing km instead of miles, but I'm also on the road in Colchester that takes the prize for speed camera quantity. After some moments of cussing, it put itself right. I went to adjust the temperature, and it now would not allow the change from the main picture of a hot man. It should show the needle backing around the scale and the man changing to a cold man. Cold men are blue, that's how I know. Yes, it was showing a red man, and it was quite right. Red hot with horns a'sprouting.

I went to a friend's house - the friend that filmed Winkle Brown - and picked up a tape of the television production. I hasten to add, only the TV one, no back door stuff. I cooled down to being a transparent man. Yes, that's what iDrive shows someone that's in a state of temperature equilibrium.

One is not happy. One's phone BTs to the car and does stuff I don't want it to, and is just as likely to phone the Queen by pure random chance just as I'm swearing at someone that's blocking the BMW lane. One has been caught like that before, and the Rivetess delighted in recording it and playing it back just to show me how un-calm I am.

John Eacott
11th Aug 2016, 08:09
I loved my TVR too. However, for real fun you should have bought a DType, DType !!!

Happy days: chasing around the Cornish countryside :ok:

11th Aug 2016, 18:02
Your Lotus Elan and that Marcos certainly added to the fun Mr Eacott !!:ok: