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Old Codger

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Old Codger last won the day on October 29 2020

Old Codger had the most liked content!

About Old Codger

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    Newbie

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Leicestershire
  • Interests
    Cars, particularly German & Italian. Extreme DIY, Cycling, Hiking and Counting bubbles in lager.
  • Occupation
    Textile Process Engineer

Garage

  • Garage
    G31 X Drive 530d Alpina B5 BiTurbo

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  1. Common sense and parsimony went out the widow, the nagging don’t do it voice in the back of my head got ignored, my friends “what for?” my wife’s “why?” my own doubts and wavering’s ignored. I went and made a Faustian pact with the dealership. Yep, 50 years up and the bucket list is one item less. The wallet is literally penniless but “hey” the devil may care; perhaps. Sure, it could have been a dolly bird, it could have been a facelift with hair transplant in Turkey, it could have been a rag top, gym classes and personality transplant. But no, what have I done? I bought a bloody estate car instead! Sophisto grey with white leather interior, 8600 miles on the clock and looks to die for, a B5 Biturbo Touring number 336. In fairness I’m a practical sort of chap, so the need to transport oversized, odd shaped heavy items occurs on a fairly regular basis. Not frequently enough to warrant a van but often enough to be problematic. Answer? An estate car. Drives better than an SUV, looks better than most SUV’s, and arguably, more environmentally responsible than an SUV. The commute mobile is a G31 530D Xdrive Touring. A superbly competent, comfortable, barge of a car. I love it unrequitedly, it does everything I ask of it smoothly, economically with unfussed haste and tenacious road holding abilities if pressed. Now, whilst unfussed haste is a great attribute, it doesn’t necessarily equate to pin sharp handling, rip snorting acceleration and the subsequent miles of smiles lots of galloping horses can bring. To achieve those attributes, one usually requires a “sports car”. Audi, VW, BMW and many more makes besides, loads of choice. RS, R, ST, Nismo, M cars etc, etc. All offer the dream of high performance, sporting cool augmented by humungous alloys, bolt on aerofoils, edgy styling, sport seats and filling loosening suspension. To the older eye they can look a bit, dare I say it, “blingy”. I’m not suggesting they’re not great drives or good cars, it’s just they tend to shout, “Look at me!” I have always preferred automotive understatement in the form of a sleeper or Q car. Alpina seem to have become a bit of an under the radar manufacturer with a “take a good car and make it better” type philosophy. Cruisers not bruisers that don’t tread on the M brands toes. That was the appeal of the B5. The 530d is great, it really is, I just wanted something that bit quicker. I could not see myself living with an M5 or M3 day in day out. Too much of a dog constantly pulling at it’s lead or skitty mare that want’s to gallop everywhere and alas not in estate form. So? You ask, what do I think to my acquisition? Time will tell but 2 days in 300 miles and a tank of V power later I’m impressed. The car is wonderfully put together, I commented in a previous post Alpina used the skin from virgins thighs instead of leather. It is sumptuous, the seats adjust in every possible plane, they heat, they cool, they massage. The number of toys is ridiculous, the tyre pressure monitor even gives the temperatures, the list just goes on. The idrive system is what I’m used to but there’s a lot more in the menus. Comfort Eco and Sport settings with adaptive and comfort plus additions. The adaptive setting is wicked, the car senses driver inputs, knows the road from the GPS and seamlessly tweaks the suspension and I think the throttle response and steering to suit. Whatever it does, it works magically. Compared to the 530 there is far less body roll, the pot holed road seems quite remote, but you feel planted, the steering is more direct and responsive and the brakes sharper. Headlights are like antiaircraft search lights and something I really like is the HUD tells me up and coming speed limits displaying the digits in red if I exceed them. Seems all the extra BMW packs came as standard. From a cold start the fuel consumption is horrendous. The digits drop like stones. Seems to need about 2 miles to warm up before the rate of decent stabilises. It is a pussy cat to drive, once seated and buckled up you put it in D and off you go, your grandmother could cope. The throttle travel is so well worked out and weighted, normal pressure required and quite long travel, car slowly picks up speed and at around 1200 rpm goes up an imperceptible gear. So easy in traffic. If you want to be Mr Angry, nailing the pedal down is not the best way, there is a bit of lag before much happens, it happens for sure but the car seems to want to use torque as it’s first option. The trick is to use the paddles, drop to a suitable gear at 3500 rpm and then press. Oh my God! The nose gently lifts, the engine note drops a couple of octaves, your face feels like it’s being torn off, your eyeballs push against the sockets while the horizon comes tearing towards you at an ever increasing and unremitting rate. Lift your foot, touch the brake and the 2.2 tonne missile slows effortlessly. You could hooli it if you felt so inclined, you could make an M5 competition work for a living, you could probably see off an RS6, AMG63 or GTR from the quiet comfort and serenity that is the B5 cockpit but that’s not the point of this car. It is world of calm refinement and effortless propulsion. It actually makes you aspire to be a better driver, anticipate more, leave bigger gaps, read the bends, watch the signboards, be more aware, there’s no need to “chance” anything. As you chill in that cockpit, isolated and unfussed by frantic surroundings you reflect that to drive a machine of such capability is both a responsibility and immense pleasure. Maybe it’s the knowledge you have colossal reserves of power that does it, or maybe that the road holding is other worldly, whatever it’s secret, it is the most phenomenal blend of craftsmanship and engineering I’ve ever had the privilege to own. Perhaps I should debadge the boot and remove those stripes after all.
  2. Old Codger

    Chassis Warning

    Finally took a morning out of work and headed to the dealers for a diagnostic appointment. Meeted & greeted before being led to the socially distanced reception waiting area for..... surprise, surprise... a wait. (historically I've had some very long ones for simple jobs - hence the sarcasm) After around 70 mins of waiting a very nice young service assistant lady came and told me they'd found the fault and asked would I like to wait while they fixed it. I said I'd wait. A moment later my phone went "ting" and a link to a video report of their findings appeared. Really interesting actually, the techy did a through job going over the whole car and produced a full VHC for me. The fault was traced to a broken wire on the compressor caused by chafing which explained the lack of growly noises from the back when parked. Any way, all got sorted quite quickly, all under warranty, and the rear suspension now works again. In fairness the dealers team did a good job, polite, efficient, quick and genuinely helpful. Couldn't fault them, especially for a big outfit. Was pleasantly surprised by the VHC report, brakes 8mm front 7mm rear. Discs? Heaps left, hardly worn in fact. Front tyres were at 4.5mm and evenly worn, rears (275s) both at 3mm one side of the face and 4.5 the other. (camber?) Admittedly I do have a big right foot so the backs cop for it, that said I do try to plan my outbursts to avoid heavy braking. Big bill for rubber coming me thinks. I also asked for a service quote as I'm now at 28.5K. - Wow! A cool £685.30 inc vat Any thoughts on that guys? Lot of money for 5.5 lts of oil and a microfilter. My indie did me an 8000 mile intermediate oil & oil filter for £70
  3. Old Codger

    Chassis Warning

    It is a great car. Comfy, quick, economical, supremely competent, ticks all my boxes but I do question reliability. On the subject of changing it I'm moving up, I've been seduced by Alpina. Watch this space...... (That'll probably breakdown too!)
  4. Old Codger

    Chassis Warning

    Don’t know for sure; I think the Chassis Alert is to do with the rear suspension. Noticed a lot of thumping, thudding and transmitted shock from the rear. Filled the boot with heavy items and the car didn’t seem to sit right. Also, the growly compressor noise it used to make for a few seconds after parking up is conspicuous by its absence. Another observation: a few days before the problem the “rear seat locked” warning ideogram was taking an age to clear after start up. Perhaps the CAN Bus was busy polling a non-responsive component, who knows. Off to the garage Wednesday for a bladder full of complimentary coffee and a diagnostic so all will be revealed. DPF failed at 20K despite my mega daily mileage (fortunately replaced under warranty) and now I am guessing, maybe an air compressor required. I thought my old E61 was bad! Shame because otherwise its a really great car.
  5. Old Codger

    Chassis Warning

    Exited the motorway during my commute home and whilst sitting at the traffic lights the iDrive chimes up with the following. "Chassis Function Restricted" Won't reset and won't clear even if the car been locked for an hour. Anyone else had this? What does it mean and what are the implications? G31 530d Xdrive. 18 months old, 26k miles.
  6. Old Codger

    Race Chips Tuning

    Have a quick look at the following buried in this site. Same topic, older cars. Technical E60/E61 2004-2010 TDI Tuning Box
  7. Old Codger

    Alpina B5, I want one.

    6 months in and getting bored with my G31 530d XDrive. Yes, overall, it’s a supremely competent package, clings to the road like superglue, comfortable, reasonably quick (esp’ from a standing start), fairly economical but somehow strangely unfulfilling despite its talent for effortlessly munching up miles. I’ve gotton used to its cossetting and imperious laid-back manner whilst in comfort mode, its usefulness as a garden shed and its grunt when the boot is stuffed to the point where the air springs are set to burst. It’s not without short comings which the motoring journo’s seem to either overlock or fail to pick up on in reviews. For instance: The a/c isn’t powerful enough when it’s been sunbathing in a car park - takes a fair while to chill the interior. If the driver’s window is down a bit when wet, below 70mph rainwater pours in off the roof falling over the window switches and me. Insufficient USB ports. HK sound system good but prone to distortion above 50%. Seems deleting individual loaded tracks from the music collection isn’t possible? Not as roomy in the back as claimed, perhaps reviewers are all 5ft 4in --- unlike 6’2” self. Gear changes not so smooth when suddenly floored – more often than not will kick down into too lower gear then has to come back up one. Drops back into “D” too quickly when using the paddles. People wax lyrical about the iDrive and infotainment systems, all I can say is, if it’s that good other manufactures systems must be pretty dire! Some of the plasticky bits in the boot and lower cabin are total crap and break off. Trying to clean between the front seats and transmission tunnel is impossible. Now full of inaccessible mouldy McD’s fries and fag lighters. Generally insufficient cubby holes to stow stuff. Things end up scattered around the cabin after a spirited drive. Run flats? Bloody noisy but essential I suppose. Dives excessively under heavy breaking, rolls more than necessary when cornering hard. Skips & clatters a smidge over certain types of lumpy roads, very little steering feedback. Despite the above gripes the bodyshell and basic underpinnings must be good as they find their way into the M5 and 550s. I’m told the latest M5 is bordering on civilised despite its supercar harassing talents. Apparently, (according to those who have one), it is the perfect compromise between a road and track car. Unfortunately for me, they don’t make it in estate form. So, having had a look at options for performance estates I decided the devil you know……..…. and ended up in the local Alpina shop. After 1/2hr of interrogation by the salesman and slightly unsure what I was expecting I finally got to ease myself into a B5 touring. Immediately familiar, everything in the same places, remarkably similar in feel. So much so, I could have found everything even if blindfolded. I would liken my car to having been trimmed with army boot leather whereas Alpina seem to have taken the skin from virgins’ thighs. Delicious, a tactile and visual delight oozing quality and craftsman ship. Lifting the bonnet is an experience of its own. My engine bay is akin to the guts of a washing machine painted black. This thing was like looking into the bowels of a space shuttle. How the techies work on it I can only imagine, it is just crammed with “stuff”. The ambiance of the cabin and technological marvels of the engine bay weren’t the highlight of my visit however, that delight was reserved for the test drive. Signing a load of paperwork, going outside to find the demonstrator lurking somewhere in a sea of lesser models took around 20 mins. At first glance an Alpina does not stand out with only the spokey wheels to give it away. In fact, if you swapped the alloys and peeled the oversize lettering off the boot sticking 520D in its place it’d be a real Q car. The key fob was the remote park version and therefore rather chunky. It did unlock the vehicle though, so I lobbed it into the drink holder, slipped my frame into the car and started adjusting the seat. Seems virtually every conceivable option is loaded into an Alpina as standard (given the price one would hope so) making finding the ideal settings a major exercise in tweaking. Finally getting myself comfy and arriving at the settings nearest to those of my trusty wagon I fired up the engine. Now, whilst my diesel starts instantly and sounds strangely like a muted diesel, the Alpina shuddered while churning before rumbling into life and then proceeded to emit a faint bass throbbing sound. - Nice A quick few words of advice from the salesman, close the door and off we go time! I had to keep checking the tacho to make sure it was running; it obviously was because the steering worked but I did find it uncannily quiet at tick over. Manoeuvring off the lot involved a bit of reversing and weaving immediately revealing the reverse turning circle to be tighter than in mine. Rear wheel steer? I don’t know but the cars turning point felt quite different. Out onto the road in comfort mode, gingerly press the throttle, slight acceleration, press harder more acceleration, nothing out the ordinary, no noise no drama. Junction ahead, press brake pedal, heavier, but same gradual retardation. Out on to main road, heavy traffic, pootle along at 40mph but become aware of the ride. Far more insulated from road noise than mine but far more communicative. Surface, camber, manholes, ruts, you feel them all, but they are just so distant and remote it’s like reading braille. The poise and ride even at a lowly 40mph tell you this car is special. Now the best bit, dual carriage way, lot of traffic on the inside, clear outside, 50 limit. I’m doing 45 and know it will shortly become derestricted, mirror, signal manoeuvre into outside lane. A Vauxhall Agila with a young lady at the wheel comes up behind, she tries to climb into the boot. Pull left paddle x2, drops into 2nd (I think) rev counter rises to around 3500 rpm, press throttle hard. Gentle shove in back, no noise, keep foot down, shoves harder, little bit of a growl, keep foot down, now I think my ears are being ripped off, I’m slammed in seat with a distant cacophony of snarling exhaust and induction roar for a sound track. Glance in mirror, Agila a speck in distance, glance at HUD, think “SHIT!” and slow down from the highly illegal speed I’d hit within 5 seconds of launch. Large island ahead, effortlessly brake down to a standstill, look right, wait for gap in traffic and adopt 530d traffic island amusement mode. Knock stick into sport and floor it. Bloody hell! the Alp’ nearly broke my neck with the unexpected G force. I flew off like I couldn’t believe but totally without external drama turning 180 degrees back onto the dual carriageway I’d just travelled up. Astounding, the lateral G really got my neck yet I was still in full control of the car whilst the vehicle was deep within its capabilities. Gentle potter back to showroom with the speed limiter on! Words fail me. Just incredible how a 2-tonne motorised gentleman’s lounge can deliver such performance with such civility. If I was in a GTR or Porsche I’d expect a bit of drama and feedback, being hauled about the seat, bounced up and down with squeaking tyres, kicking steering and wiggling tail accompanied by snorting intakes and roarting exhaust. With the Alp’ ? Bit of “G”, (well a lot really) muted growling and general all round laid back serenity. Could have been a Bentley. That’s what got me, monstrous performance on tap yet indescribably civilised and unfussed. Just an incredible machine for the price, I really, really, want one despite the faults it will bring with it.
  8. Old Codger

    TDI Tuning Box

    I had my 2010 520D Biz Ed touring remapped by superchips using Bluefin. Logic being it was a company car that went to the dealers till 120K. Used to put the original map back on at service time which was dead easy to do taking maybe 2 mins. Bluefin was installed at 80k miles and I subsequently ran her to 170K miles but not without issues however! Oil changed every 8K with the regular servicing carried out by a very reputable independent after 120K. Original chains remained intact and never rattled. The map itself was great, it transformed the car, I truly had the choice of improved economy (10% +) or additional performance. Totally driveable with a massive surge of power available between 1800 and 4000 rpm. (Pointless reving any further). Slight sensitivity to fuel, Shell V power was found to be the preferred motion lotion to maximise the additional grunt. I reckon the peak BHP went up to around the 220+ mark and torque went off the scale. 0 – 60 dropped to from 7.5 seconds to 6.0 with the 245/35/19 Goodyears only just managing to keep traction on dry road. In sport she was an absolute hoot eating pimped Corsas and Hondas for breakfast. Motorway driving became effortless with the 75 to 90 overtaking/pulling out dash becoming almost instantaneous. To be frank my 530D X drive isn’t a lot quicker, it just grips better! Now the downsides: Turbo blew at 135K with subsequent oil loss taking the DPF with it. Ripped a rear half shaft out. Ripped various rear suspension bushes/mounts on two occasions Sheared the propshaft clean in two! Ripped the engine mounts both sides. Ripped gearbox mount. Gearbox failed at 170K – despite oil changes. All in all it did what it said on the can, a very well sorted map providing seamless performance. The car wasn’t built to handle the extremes of power provided, hence the above fails. Don’t fit a box, go the OBD route. The difference is worth it but you will break the drivetrain.
  9. Old Codger

    Sisters.jpg

  10. Old Codger

    Nice Ass.jpg

  11. Abusing a 2010 E61 520d Biz Ed for 8 years results in it becoming “beyond economic repair”. It broke my heart to admit the love affair had ended. To ease the pain of my bereavement I bought a 2019 G31 with so much electronic wizardry packed into it a 62-year-old struggles to get his head around it first hit! The E61 MK1 iDrive does pretty much the same as that of the new car. However, the combination of colourful presentation, fancy graphics, breadth and depth of detail you can drill into does make it hard to assimilate on first acquaintance. The “auto” functions and driver aids in the car really take some adapting to they’re a quantum leap from the 2000s when the E60s then cutting edge technology was conceived. I’d liken it to jumping from when I was a lad in the 70s (windows winders worked by hand, compact cassettes and inertia seatbelts were optional extras etc), straight into an E60. The old bus has a 2.0 N47 with six speed steptronic, roughly 180 BHP as stock but with added chip tune ramping it to around 220/225 BHP. Chipping (depending on severity) of course gives you a choice of better fuel economy or more horses, if it happens to be diesel lots and lots of extra torques as well. The torques come with a caveat, I used them a lot and the drivetrain has paid the ultimate price at 165K miles. The E61 was no sluggard, standard 0-60 of 7.6 secs dropped to about 6.0 plus a bit. For a car weighing around 1800kgs that’s quick and many a kid in a pimped Corsa, Audi and VW has gazed up its rapidly receding tailpipe. Motorways? Even better. kickdown into 5th at around 70/75 mph straight onto peak torque with 90 taking rather less than the tailgater expects. So, you’re getting the idea, I’ve been flying a bimmer for a while, skipped a generation and then went up a litre. Test driving on red & whites with an aftershave dripping, salesmen does restrict you from exploring the dynamic envelope somewhat. The dealers wouldn’t loan one for a weekend, so I had to lull the guy into a false sense of security before seizing an opportunity to nail the proverbial to the metal. He squealed, the tyres didn’t, straight six growled and in a road to Damascus moment I realised the new 5 series is a seriously competent car. 7 days and several £10s of 000s later an M sport 530d Touring sat on my drive. Yes, its quick, not compared to a GTR, Tesla or Mercan quick, but for a shed on wheels it’s quick. Surprisingly most of the buttons, levers and things to twiddle on stalks are in the same place and do much the same things as the E61s do. That helped me greatly adapting to the new car. The seats are comfier and more supportive, but the heating can’t be biased to back or squab. The gap between the throttle and brake is smaller, my work boots catch, there is less room in the rear behind the front seats, the roof is narrower so I catch my head, the glass area is smaller and the pillars thicker creating more blind spots. So not all positive. I’ve got a sunroof to let the fag smoke out, it only opens a bit, so no chance of a sun tan. The electric tailgate is slow but useful if your hands are full, the electric parcel shelf and rear seat release feature are a boon and the boot stowage for the parcel self an excellent idea. The dog guard is an utter pain to release, the old style worked far better. The E61 had what is effectively another boot under the load deck where the spare wheel lived pre runflats. A really useful cubby hole now missed. Cabin stowage space is more plentiful and better thought out. Aesthetically its lovely and bang up to date with similar high-quality materials to the E60 throughout. To sum up, it’s a new version of the old one, familiar as a favourite pair of old jeans tailored for today’s tastes. Adaptive lights are phenomenal, E61s used tallow pre LCI then switched to carbide. Kinect in the display? Gimmick what’s wrong with the steering wheel buttons. Digital instruments, great but not fully customisable in mine. HUD, incredibly useful except when driving into low sun when it disappears in the glare. X drive. See comment further down but if your middle name is sasquatch it’s essential with the amount of grunt on tap. Collision warnings, adaptive cruise, nodded off at wheel alert and gone over white line alert – can’t be doing with. Upside down dead in a ditch phone home feature? WTF! Adaptive suspension? Jury still out, comfort does me. Driving dynamics are where old and new really part company. Ride and handling are exemplary, truly sublime in fact. The E61 even though air sprung was choppy on its 19” 35 profiles except fully loaded or at speed when it began to glide. Cabin engine noise although muted was definitely diesel with an element of tyre roar regardless of surface. In the G31 I hear my own heat beat. X drive turning circles by comparison are huge, I need to retrain for turning points especially when reversing into tight spots. The PDC works about the same but the fancy graphic takes some interpretation, no camera on mine, don’t know why. The steering is slightly disappointing in terms of feedback but is light, incredibly precise, stable and responds instantly to every input. It leaves the E61 in the middle ages. Gears, there are 8 and they match the engine perfectly whereas the E61s 6 couldn’t make the best use of the powerband and could end up hunting according to throttle load. Sport and manual with the gear stick are the same to use but I find the G31 steering wheel paddles a little too close to the stalks for my fat fingers. The engine is a truly wonderous thing, a gentle 6-cylinder purr permeates the cabin with just a hint of aggression. It’s a pure sensory delight to my ears. The E61s N47 roared and frantically clattered whereas this six just drops an unfussed octave delivering its extra silky smooth 40/50 hp totally without drama. Reminds me of my old E12 525. The E61 has been driven on unrestricted autobahns and whilst it could reach almost 140mph it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Acceleration would fade markedly after 120 and by 130 the engine had to work hard to keep pushing on. Couple that with rising wind noise, a slight feeling of instability and it wasn’t a place to stay. I took the G31 down my local airstrip but unfortunately kept running out of tarmac. At 140 I got the impression there was a lot more to give. The electronics seemed to stiffen up the suspension and steering as the speed rose. Firmly rooted to the ground, not particularly noisy, very stable, confidence inspiring and drama free. Only a few short laps but enough to reveal the competency of this car. (Note to self: Must holiday in Bavaria this year) My wife is a founder member of the Miss Daisy school of motoring, anything above 10mph below a speed limit induces a funny turn. After 10 mins in the passenger seat she remarked “It’s just like being on an intercity train” e.g., No roll, no bumps, no lurching. A Result! I was almost speeding too. Her impressions of driving it were, how small and nimble it felt, how it could “run away with you” and “it’s so much easier than my Focus” – sorry Ford. The fuel economy I suspect will bear no resemblance to the quoted figures, it’s too early to build a true picture. I suspect my 80-mile commute will give 38 mpg. Sensitivity to fuel, E61’s love Shell hate supermarket: unknown. Tyre life: unknown. Oil will get an intermediate at 8k as I intend to keep it. What falls off and breaks will be revealed in the fullness of time but guaranteed it won’t be cheap to fix. Every journalist review of the car I’ve read has been overwhelmingly positive – for once I agree with the lying toe rags, it is almost perfect. Like in Mad Max 2, the last of the interceptors. Grab one before diesel is banned.
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