All is well again with our BMW Z3…

Ready again for beautiful drives in summer Sunshine… 

At the moment of writing, the experts at BMW Jorssen made a swift and expert repair and brought again a broad smile on our face: we are enjoying again undisturbed roadster pleasure in this magnificent summer weather we are having presently.

We suspected rightly some troubles with the master and/or slave cylinder, and we were rather optimistic in believing that bleeding of the system might solve the problems, but alas, when all hydraulic pressure is lost in the system, most of the time more serious things are amiss.

A broken and leaking FAG-made clutch slave cylinder was at fault… 

The experts at Jorssen soon discovered that the clutch slave cylinder was indeed badly leaking and faulty. This slave cylinder is attached with two nuts on the transmission and actuates the clutch. It is manufactured by FAG, which actually belongs to the Schaeffler Group. The FAG brand dates from 1905 and stands for “Fishers Aktien-Gesellschaft.”

The clutch slave cylinder is bolted with two nuts on the tranmission… 

The two brothers Wilhelm and Georg Schaeffler who founded in 1946 INA in Herzogenaurach, took over FAG in 2002 and their firm now has grown to a worldwide giant – the second largest producer of needle bearings in the world – and manufactures amongst other things precision parts like needle bearings, hydraulic valve lifters, hydraulic variable valve timing systems. Did you know that the London Millennium Wheel (also called the London Eye), runs on two massive frictionless bearings made by FAG?

In 2003 LuK (clutches), INA and FAG form the “Schaeffler Group”. It is actually the largest German company which is still exclusively family owned.

But back to our BMW Z3. Because of the leakage, it was feared that some oil would have leaked on the clutch, but I never noticed anything indicating this, and indeed, fortunately the clutch functions perfectly and very progressively.

When the slave cylinder is removed, (see the two loose bolts) one sees clearly the hole where the cylinder is lodged, and where it pushes the clutch in open position with its pin. When mounting this cylinder, one has to be careful that this pin is perfectly centered

The repair bill was very reasonable indeed, with only 20,8 Euros charged for actually removing the old and mounting the new pump, with most of the work – costing almost 89 Euros – being involved in bleeding the hydraulic clutch system. The FAG slave cylinder itself set us back some 129 Euros. We indicate here that these prices here are ex VAT, so 21 % VAT had to be added.

Of course, the hydraulic brake fluid – DOT4 spec- was replaced, as the hydraulic system of the clutch takes its hydraulic fluid from the brake reservoir, and the people at Jorssen was even were so meticulous to also top up  coolant and windscreen spray fluid reservoirs.

The car was repaired in a day, so needless to say we were very pleased with the very swift service.

We will keep you posted, dear reader, on the further life of our Z3, and in the meantime we plan to contact the press officer in our country of the Schaeffler Group, with some questions about service life and eventual maintenance of their FAG clutch slave cylinders… we are very curious indeed!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

We drove the Mazda CX-5 194 HP AWD: Sportiness, style and refinement…

Introduced in our market in 2012, Mazda launched a second generation of its SUV bestseller in 2017. The styling is further improved, the car has more power and handling is now even more inviting than ever. The CX-5 is besides this sportiness also a very refined SUV, with very low interior noise levels and offering roominess and comfort. We drove the top Skycruise equipment level with AWD, 6 speed auto and a very impressive 2.5 liter SKYACTIV engine, and needless to say, this CX-5 proved a very charming companion indeed…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Our cars: clutch problems with our BMW Z3…

Our Z3 was towed to BMW Dealer Jorssen with a non functioning clutch…

A torn muscle prevented us for a while to drive our BMW Z3, and with things now having been cured after a necessary rest, it was now time for driver and car to take an exercise run again and flex our legs…

On another shakedown tour we noticed already that the gear changes were a bit difficult, and we decided to have another test today. Startup and the first kilometers were flawless, but at a roundabout the clutch refused all functions, and the pedal had a light, “dead” feeling, meaning indeed that the clutch did not separate at all anymore and hydraulic pressure was lost in the system, with the result that changing gears proved impossible.

It so happed (luck has it) that we were quite close – at walking distance – to the Jorssen dealer where we had brought the Z3 last time to have rubber items replaced and our glove box lock repaired, and so we went there, to hear that they provided no towing service. Fortunately, we are booked at KBC Bank Assistance Service, and they provided swift, kind and efficient help. They brought the car to BMW Jorssen, where it now awaits repair…

Most probably it will be necessary bo bleed the clutch system, as air in the clutch hydraulics can make the system quite stubborn to function, it at all. Bleeding the slave cylinder might do it, pushing in the piston manually with the bleeder valve open, then close it, let the piston come out again totally, then push again, open the bleeder and watch the hydraulic fluid come out. Repeat this several times, and resistance will increase, (which you will feel in your clutch pedal) until the air is out and the system is bleeded.

We will see what the experts will tell us! Of course, we will keep you posted!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

More power and zest for the Mazda MX-5 Roadster…

At the moment of writing we are driving the very entertaining and refined Mazda CX-5, and we hear from the dynamic PR-Manager Peter Gemoets that Mazda is launching an update of its bestselling roadster, enhancing the inimitable thrill of the Jinba Ittai driving experience.

Jinba ittai, or the thrill of perfect unity between the horse and its rider with the arch… 

For those who are not familiar with this concept and do not know what it means, we tell you here that Jinba ittai (人馬一体, “person [and] horse [as] one body”) is a Japanese four-character compound, describing unity of horse and rider which is pertinent to Yabusame, Japanese mounted archery. We could not resist the temptation to make a drawing of one of those valiant warrior/riders with their big arches, galloping on their horses…

Hirotaka Kanazawa: “it all comes down to the relationship between the car and the driver”

A beautiful symbol, indeed evoking what Mazda is striving to reach with its CX-5, namely the unity between the driver and its four wheeled mount, the MX-5. As we told you already in our test report of the MX-5, it is one of those cars which delivers you tons of driving pleasure. This is also precisely what people like Hirotaka Kanazawa, the managing executive officer of Mazda Japan, and responsible for car development, tells us: “we firmly believe that when we make a fantastic car, it all comes down to the relationship between the car and the driver”. We show you here his photo, and an image taken in the research and development department, where the all important relationship and “feel” is tested between steering wheel and gear lever…

The “feel” of the car with your hands on the wheel and the gearlever… this is what they test at the Mazda development centre… 

The 1.5 and 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol engines have further improved combustion and greater torque now, and comply with new WLTP/RDE test cycle, meeting Euro 6d Temp emission regulations. Both powertrains benefit from refined acceleration control to minimise lag between throttle applications and vehicle response.

The SKYACTIV-G 2.0 engine is now higher-revving and acoustically further tuned, with maximum engine speed raised from 6,800 to 7,500 rpm, maximum horsepower increased from 160 to 184 PS @ 7,000 rpm, and maximum torque from 200 to 205 Nm @ 4,000 rpm.

Five new i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies are also introduced: Advanced Smart City Brake Support which detects vehicles and pedestrians ahead and helps avoid collisions, and Smart City Brake Support (Reverse) which detects vehicles and obstacles behind, as well as Driver Attention Alert, a Traffic Sign Recognition System and a Rear View Camera. This we also enjoy now in the new CX-5 we are testing.

The award-winning KODO-Soul of Motion design is further enriched through a darker paint finish for both 16″ and 17″ alloy wheels, and the eye is further seduced with the availability of a new brown canopy colour for soft-top models.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

Audi presents the second generation of its iconic A1…

We have always loved the A1 Audi, and many car enthusiasts with us. The second generation is now soon to roll of the production lines in Martorell, and not in Brussels anymore, where next year the all-electric flagship Audi will be produced. The new A1 has a more angular, and bolder stance, and Audi tells us it shows reminiscences of the “Ur”-Quattro. Especially the big and large forward tilted C-pillar gives indeed extra zest to this new A1.

Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The first ‘Collection By Vermant’ Rally proved a success…

I would have loved to participate with my pristine BMW Z3 youngtimer to this event, but the last sequels of my torn muscle prevented me, alas. Things are now rapidly improving healthwise, and I really can hardly wait to drive my Z3 roadster into the sunshine again, just another few weeks of patience…

In the meantime, this rally proved a success. The route went through the Flemish Limburg fruit region, and was indeed fully subscribed with 50 participants. Undoubtedly, next year the number of participants will be still larger…

The Collection by Vermant concept, which as faithful readers know was launched three months ago at the Antwerp Classic Salon, has literally a flying start.

The workshop under the direction of specialist and operational manager Ruben Bosch is humming along, and the enthusiast with a warm heart for classics can discover now in the brand new showroom at the Generaal De Wittelaan in Malines an exquisite collection of cars for sale.

Bringing together passionate classic car lovers and clients is wat the Collection by Vermant wants to do. Just have a drink at the bar in the showroom and discover what they can do and mean for you…

We show you here the photos of the event, with some interesting cars indeed…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

With their new 8 series coupé, BMW redefines sportiness…

With this BMW the Bavarian brand enters the luxury segment with a broad premium model initiative. This new coupé opens a new chapter in what sporting driving is all about for BMW: a superb combination of luxury, inspiring sportiness and last but not least Gran Turismo comfort.

Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Lexus LC 500 h: a Gran Turismo coupé of absolute superlatives

A beauty from the east has come to our shores… 

Unique and truly standing out, this is how we can fittingly describe this beautiful coupé. Brilliant engineering gives this hybrid gem its performance and panache. The stylists also pulled all the stops and tested the boundaries of shaping and form techniques to produce a Lexus with an absolutely brilliant personality and presence. With the LF-LC concept car in 2012 we had already a preview of this stunning car, and at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit it made its public debut.

Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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New Skoda Kodiaq RS sets record lap at Nürburgring… and we compare it to racing history!

Sabine Schmitz, a born and bred Nürburgring driver, the daughter of the innkeeper/hotel owner at the famous Eifel circuit, who started driving/racing around the “Green Hell” as a teenager, went behind the wheel of the brand new RS version of Skoda’s big seven seater, and put her unique racing driver talents and Ring experience to work.

There is of course a magnificent You tube film about her 9:29.84 minute drive, of which we give you a link in this column. We decided to put this performance in an historical perspective, and more specifically how does this compare to the performances of the Grand Prix and sports drivers and cars of the fifties?

Read more and be surprised…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Audi launches new Q8: a SUV with even more sporting flair

The Audi Q8 is a large SUV, exuding – as Audi puts it – sporty dynamics and upscale prestige. Practically 5 meters (16.4 ft) long, 2.00 meters (6.6 ft) wide and 1.71 meters (5.6 ft) tall, the SUV coupe is wider, shorter and lower than its Q7 sister model.

With a wheelbase of nearly 3.00 meters (9.8 ft), it offers a spacious interior that beats of its direct competitors in most relevant dimensions, including interior length and headroom.  There is a three-seat system in the rear with longitudinally adjusting upon request. With the seatbacks folded down, the luggage compartment under the power rear hatch holds up to 1,755 liters (62.0 cu ft). The body has svelte accent lines, muscular yet refined, we love it from any angle. Just be still a bit patient: the Audi Q8 launches on the European market in the third quarter of 2018. Just read more…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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