Our BMW Z3 fully repaired…

Our BMW is happily running again. When we found out that the rubber backstop which held the hook into the hole of the lever commanded by the throttle pedal was missing, we contacted our local dealer BMW Jorssen to order the part. Of course, in Corona times the dealer was not open to the public at the time, but they were fully prepared to order for us the rubber circular stop.

First Jorssen sent us a mail with an exploded technical drawing to make sure this was the missing part we wanted. It appeared to be part number 35 41 1 152 331 “Rubber tule”, and a few days later it arrived neatly in our mailbox at home.

The service was excellent and punctual. We soon went to our BMW Z3 to install it, which proved to be a breeze. Just push it over the end of the hook. We re-installed the dashboard cover above the pedals, and presto, we were ready for another (test) drive.

But before we started the engine, we took another inspection in the foot-well area and around the throttle pedal whether we wouldn’t find somewhere (a piece) of the old backstop? You would never know! Indeed, after some good and meticulous cleaning around the throttle it appeared: indeed, we found a completely broken half of the original backstop…  

 

So after all, we were completely correct in our diagnosis, and went for a happy, smooth short drive.

Our BMW Z3 is again in top form, but alas, in Corona times, it still has to wait a bit to make these beautiful trips we all dream of now…

Stay posted for more BMW Z3 stories!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We got our BMW Z3 running again…

In Corona times, one meets many challenges. Such as repairing a quality car like the BMW at home. Something we would never envision to do in normal times. But as our beloved Z3 was standing in our home garage with a loose throttle pedal connection, and as garages are still on lockdown at the moment of writing, the only thing to do was to tackle the repair ourselves. Moreover, as we have to move up a gentle upward slope when driving our of the garage, we need more than just idling power, so we had no alternative than to get the throttle connected again.   

So we took all our courage and screwdriver in our hands, and first removed the cover beneath the dashboard on the driver’s seat, shielding the throttle linkage. This proved rather straightforward, with only two plastic screws to be loosened. Then we gently took the cover off, and looked at the throttle mechanism, more especially the lever where it takes up the hook at the end of the throttle cable. We just hoped and prayed that this hook just had snapped off the lever commanded by the throttle, and that the throttle cable itself was not broken.

We fixed again the hook end of the throttle cable into the hole of lever commanded by the throttle pedal…

We remember when we abruptly went of the throttle when we saw the female jogger almost jump in front of our car, we didn’t hear any noise of a popping or snapping cable, so a loose hook was probably it. The cable hadn’t been sticky either, as throttle operation was always very smooth and progressive, so again it was unlikely that it had snapped.

And hurray, the throttle cable was not broken, and indeed only the hook had come off its hole in the lever. The reason was also soon found, why this has happened. The rubber stop to prevent the hook from sliding out of the hole in the lever was just missing. So the thin hook was just gingerly lodged in the hole of the lever, as the photo here below clearly shows.

As the throttle lever has two holes, we did have to check whether we had chosen the right one when we reconnected the hook, and we had to check that the engine was responding well to the throttle movements and still idling well properly when we did not touch the throttle pedal.

So yes, we took our beloved BMW Z3 for a brief spin, and were delighted that throttle movements where as smooth as ever, and that the engine responded beautifully.

Now we just have to order the right rubber backstop preventing the hook from (again) sliding out of its hole, and we will try our luck with our local dealer BMW Jorssen in Aartselaar. Then we can re-assemble the cover again neatly, and everything is again forgotten, hopefully.

To be continued!

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

Our Lexus CT 200h passes annual technical test with flying colors…

Our Lexus is now just more than a year with us, and has proved to be not only a smooth performer, it also is immensely frugal. Our average consumption over the whole year was an astonishing 4,7  liters/100 km. Nothing whatsoever was amiss with our Lexus, it started always at the first push of a button, and we didn’t have to add anything except 95 octane fuel.

It was time to put it through the annual technical inspection, which it passed with no remarks at all. The MOT inspectors were also impressed when looking underneath the car: the drivetrain units and transmission were totally dry, no leaks whatsoever, suspension top notch, as was the bodywork.

A green inspection report, OK to drive another year…

These results are hardly surprising when we read the latest press announcement from Stephan Lesuisse of Lexus Belgium, announcing that the Belgian consumer organization “Test Aankoop/Test Achat” (translated Test Purchase) has awarded Lexus with the title of the most reliable brand in 2019. International consumer surveys with 43.000 clients participating put Lexus on top with Toyota being a good third, and also other Japanese brands scoring very well in the top 5 group. Only one brand in this group is not Japanese…

Our Lexus proved fault free at the annual inspection…

Lexus ended with a 95 % score, with a 93% result for Toyota. But that is not all. Lexus cars has earned the 2020 What Car? Reliability Award in the UK. This honour follows on from Lexus’s exceptional performance in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, in which the brand was the highest-ranked manufacturer for the third year running and its CT 200h hybrid luxury hatchback recorded a 100 per cent fault-free performance across the previous 12 months.

Need we say more? No small wonder that we are continuing to drive our Lexus CT 200h with a broad smile on our car loving face…

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

Our Suzuki Samurai passed the “contrôle technique” with flying colours…

The technician at the “contrôle technique” puts a broad smile…

Indeed, this is the second part of a very happy story. As we said earlier, we took our faithful runner to the “Point S” station, and got the oil and filter changed, and the brake system cleaned and brake fluids replaced. In the meantime, the slight brake friction we had felt on the left front wheel had already disappeared.

We first went to “point S” for a checkup…

The next day we presented it to the “Securitest”, and as expected, it passed the test without a hitch. “C’est une très bonne voiture!” acclaimed the man who checked the car. We photographed him in front of our Samurai at the end of the test, after he had put the small sticker with the test validity date on the window.

Indeed, it is immediately visible for anyone in France whether the car is properly insured and has passed the MOT test, as it is obligatory to put both the insurance and the MOT test sticker on the window. Very clever!

The validity date of the last “controle technique” is put on “la carte grise” or the grey card, which are the car’s identity papers.

Contrary to Belgium, the control is valid for a period of two years instead of one, which is far more logical if you consider the present state of technology of our modern cars.

Our 1988 Samurai passed…

Indeed, even with the soaring heat wave temperatures well above 30 degrees we are experiencing at the moment of writing, our youngtimers, the 21 year old Mercedes A Class and this 31 year old Suzuki, perform perfectly without the slightest hint of overheating or whatsoever. It proves again how much superior car technology is and has been since more than thirty years ago, compared to present day public transport trains and their infrastructure, if one reads the horrible stories of thousands of people stuck in overheated, defect trains and rail infrastructure this week. Quod erat demonstrandum!

We are now enjoying our Suzuki, driving it along vineyards and historic villages with good places to eat, and are now putting things in place to get it registered as a “voiture de collection”…

More to follow!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Our faithful Samurai will become an oldtimer, or “voiture de collection”

As some readers will remember, the stable of cars at our French holiday house also includes a 1988 Suzuki Samurai, which has now reached the venerable age of more than 30 years, and is therefore now elegible to become a “collectors’ car”. It hasn’t been running last year, but that didn’t prevent it for starting right away after 2 years, after an initial 7 second burst on the starter motor to get the fuel up. After this first burst we waited for about 20 seconds or so, and then turned the key again: tchch-vrooom it shot into life right away, settling immediately in a smooth 1300 rpm on the automatic choke, without any hiccup or misfiring. Soon, after a minute or so, it ran at the 800 rpm normal tickover, and that was that. After this first start, it fires up immediately every time.

We depressed the clutch, which was free moving, and we cautiously moved it slowly in first and reverse, to loosen things up further. Clutch and brakes seemed OK. So we took it out of its garage and went for a first 10 kilometer mountain drive, only to notice that the left front brake must be not completely loose as after a 4 kilometers or so, the Samurai started pulling a bit to the left and indeed the left front wheel rim was running warmer, and this could be felt by hand. Luckily the rear drum brakes were fine, as the wheels stayed cold. We stopped and luckily noticed that even the slightest descent got the car rolling, so the friction could not be that much. We will drive it quietly tomorrow to the service station “Point S” to get the brakes checked and the oil and filter changed, and the day after it will be a visit to the “contrôle technique”.

To be continued, we will keep you posted!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Our Cars: The Mercedes A Class is still going strong…

In our stable we also have some “French” cars, which live in our French country house, where they serve as holiday transport when we enjoy “time out” in la Douce France. One of these is a 1998 A Class 160 with a five speed automatic which we bought used now more than 14 years ago and which has seen intensive (professional) daily use by my wife for more than a decade; it has since 3 years found a new home in France. It is an ideal fit for the winding roads in the French Midi, its zesty 1,6 litre petrol engine is well mated to the auto box, and it is our favoured transport for outings and shopping.

In France, older cars have to pass a “contrôle technique” every two years, and they are checked for brakes, steering, windows/wipers, lights, suspension, chassis corrosion, seats and seat belts, interior, all commands, door locks, etc. With of course last but not least brake efficiency and emissions testing included. The multinational SGS actually is the company organising technical car controls under its “securitest” label in France and the test items and procedures can be found on their website securitest.fr.

Our trusted A Class passed the test with flying colours, not very surprising as the car is properly maintained. The “contrôle technique” is done by appointment, so you don’t waste any time, and is concluded by a very kind and detailed personal comment about the points which need attention on the car in the coming two years. On our A Class, it was the condition of the last muffler and of course brake pads, although not critical, the latter which indeed are due for renewal within the coming months. 

So our A Class, with now 248.000 km on the clock, is soldiering on still further!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Our Lexus reaches new consumption records…

Our personal Lexus CT200h is demonstrating its amazing economy ever more.

On a recent 96 km summer trip along scenic coastal roads in our low countries, we reached a new personal low of… 3,9 liters/100 km.

Of course we were driving with anticipation, taking full advantage of the hybrid system, but moving along with the pace of holiday traffic, and with the airco full ablaze in the recent hotter (heat wave) weather. So nothing special there.

You can also read this on the instagram page of Lexus Belux, who were so kind, after we told them enthusiastically about our feats, to mention it also on their page…

More (positive) news soon, stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A scenic drive through the Ardennes, followed by a royal garden party…

Stopping under the tree shadow, in front of the church at Humain…

Summer has arrived, and therefore it is time to get our cars out for long drives. We didn’t hesitate when the invitation dropped in our mailbox from her Royal Highness Princess Léa of Belgium and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Belgium to get our BMW up and ready for a drive to her Château in Humain (close to Marche-en-Famenne), where we would start for a 120 km long trip through the scenic Ardennes roads and enjoy a subsequent Garden Party and dinner at the grounds of the castle.

Our BMW was of course fit for the trip, and we enjoyed its smooth pulling power and excellent road manners on the winding roads through dramatic countryside’s and historic village centres.

Magnificent vieuws, like the Tombeau du Géant at Bouillon…

As this was a touristic drive with no emphasis on performance or speed, we adopted a more leisurely driving style, and our BMW with its 140 HP 2 litre petrol engine rewarded us with an average consumption over the 443 km trip of a good 6,6 litres/100 km, which goes a long way to demonstrate that also more than 20 years ago, engine thermal efficiency was not an idle word.

On our afternoon 120 km circuit, we stopped for coffee at the Hostellerie Le Charme de la Semois, at B-5550 Alle-sur-Semois

Don’t forget, this engine has double overhead camshafts, ideally shaped combustion chambers with 4 valves per cylinder and electronic multi-point injection, just like its present day brothers. For refinement, it also has a balancing shaft, so this rather big four is smooth as a straight six both at low and high revs, which brings of course even more pleasure at the wheel…

We just let you enjoy the photos, with understandably, for reasons of discretion, no photos of the royal castle and its grounds…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Our Z3 passes inspection with flying colors…

Just an update on our (faithful) cars. Whist our Lexus is setting ever better economy records, achieving as low as 4,1 liters/100 km, the BMW Z3 also shows its mettle. After the repair of the seat sensor for the airbag, it passed the technical inspection without a hitch.

Just ready now again for a nice summer season of (open) motoring!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Our BMW Z3 repaired: the airbag seat sensor proved faulty…

Our Z3 entering the service bay at BMW Jorssen…

Our beloved Z3 is healthy again, and the service experts at BMW Jorssen in Aartselaar diagnosed that the reason why the airbag lamp stayed lit was the passenger seat sensor. It is manufactured by SBE Elektronik for BMW, and ceased its service after so many years.

Of course, diagnosing and detecting the reason why the airbag telltale lamp stayed on takes also some time, and eventual malfunctions in the electrical system also need then to be checked.

The sensor mat of the passenger seat malfunctioned…

It proved to be the sensor mat in the passenger seat, and this needed to be replaced. Locating the fault, removing and replacing the mat and making a final check up cost us in total 295 €, ex VAT.

The actual sensor mat cost 178,80 € ex VAT, and the steering electronics of the seat sensor set us back another 58,80 €.

But now our Z3 is ready for another great season! Keep posted for further reports!

Hans Knol ten Bensel