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Pontiac Firebird KITT – Fuel system overhaul

What some could consider as being part of the basic maintenance, I decided to make it a separate video. Whereas changing the fuel filter is fairly easy on these thirdgens, getting to the fuel pump is a bit more tricky. Not super hard but it requires you to lift the car and drop the tank, as there is no fuel trap door to access to it from the inside of the car…at least not from the factory. Enjoy the video!

 

How to do an oil & oil filter change – Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star

Let’s get dirty

In terms of doing an oil change, the Yamaha 1100 Drag Star is probably the least Japanese on planet Earth. Why, simply because you need to remove the exhaust to access the oil filter… I mean, you could simply not bother about the filter and just change the oil – job done. Except that’s not my style. If I’m going to do it myself, I’m gonna do it as good as possible.

Buckle up, here’s how to do it! 🙂

Changing the spark splugs – Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star

It’s electrifying

After changing the air filter, the next step would be to put new spark plugs in this ride. Spark plugs are usually changed once the respective mileage prescribed by the manufacturer is over. On my Drag Star, I change them every 10’000 km. I use the original NGK BPR7ES units. The procedure is pretty straightforward.

Here’s how to do it! 🙂

Air filter change – Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic

Fresh air instead of oil

Okay, the air filter is part of the expendable materials on a motorcycles. Now that I’m servicing my car, I figured I’d go down the same road as on my Peugeot RCZ and replace the old standard air filter with a K&N sports air filter. It does fit in the original compartment, hopefully make it sound a bit better and last ‘a lifetime’.

The old filter was literally covered in engine oil, which as far as I know, can only mean that there is too much oil in the engine! Perfect time to get that cleaned up, changed and obviously also conduct an oil change..!

Here’s how to do it! 🙂

Changing Oil & Oil Filter – Peugeot RCZ

Fresh oil on the dipstick

Doing an oil change on an internal combustion engine is probably the most commonly known and most frequently conducted service element in all car maintenance history. So guess what, even my RCZ needs it every 30’000 km or every two years. The procedure is quite simple: (1) Open up the oil cap on top of the engine block, (2) unscrew the drain plug and let the old oil flow out into an appropriate catch pan. (3) Put a new crush washer on the drain plug and screw it back on. (4) Now replace the oil filter before (5) filling in 4.25l of fresh synthetic SAE 5W30 engine oil.

NOTICE: Safety first, environment second! Make sure the car is safely positioned on a car lift or on ramps when you are working underneath a car, especially when your are applying force to unbolt / bolt parts! The engine, exhaust and the oil might be hot if you warmed the car up just before, hence protect your hands, skin in general and your eyes accordingly. Always dispose of used oil properly – bring it to your local waste disposal service station.

Here’s how to do it! 🙂

BMW Tour – Sheep in a wolf’s package

Are you in for the looks or the performance?!

Frank Keane BMW, Blackrock
Frank Keane BMW, Blackrock

This week I happened to walk past the BMW dealership in Blackrock, Co. Dublin in Ireland. I looked at all the new and used cars they parked outside and first thought: Wow that’s a lot of high performance cars. Many of them have M packages (M for Motorsport, of course), meaning that they have the front and rear bumpers of the M variant of the respective model. M badges on the sides, the wheels and on the steering wheels.

BMW 420d convertible, Frank Keane BMW, Blackrock
BMW 420d convertible, Frank Keane BMW, Blackrock

Upon closer  inspection I quickly realized that most of them are actually pretty reasonably powered cars and that most of the aggressive looking cars are much lower powered diesel cars. For example, instead of the X5 M comes with a 4.4l V8 engine, delivering 575 hp. The white x5 here is actually a sDrive25d M Sport diesel delivering 231 hp. Same story for the 420d convertible and the 5 Series Touring; They are literally sheep in wolf’s clothing.

BMW M135i 5 door, Frank Keane BMW, Blackrock
BMW M135i 5 door, Frank Keane BMW, Blackrock

However, rest assured that there are also some properly powerful and fun to drive cars available. Check out the video below and discover for yourself:

2012 Peugeot RCZ

The concept

The RCZ started its life as one of many beautiful concept cars of Peugeot at the 2007 International Motor Show Germany – the IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung). Most of those concept cars never make it into production, but this one got such a good feedback and looked already production ready. So Peugeot made the brave decision and put it into production.

2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ
2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ

Anyway, the moment I saw this car on the internet I wanted it. Growing up in a family that had always had at least one Peugeot at a time (505, 406, 406 coupé, 307 SW) I always had somewhat of an emotional connection with the brand, but most of them were more appealing to the sensible driver rather to the passionate gearhead / petrolhead.

2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ
2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ

Then, two years later, Peugeot presented the production version of the RCZ. They dropped the “308” in order not to have people remind it of the the more functional model it is technically based on, making it the first Peugeot road car to have a model type name consisting of letters, rather than the typical three digits with the “0” in the middle.

The real deal

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

After the presentation of the road going version in the fall of 2009, production started in 2010 at the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria. I knew that one day I would have to own one. Little did I know that that day would already come by the end of 2012. Yes, I’m fortunate enought to call the nacre white one you see on the left my own. By the way, you might already have noticed that I used this car as the official MotorScotti logo. 🙂

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

This one is the 200 hp (147kW) version. I’ve had it since November 2012 and I’m absolutely delighted! Being the GT version it comes with the improved suspension and smaller steering wheel compared to the base 156 hp model.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

The main reason why I wanted the RCZ is obvious: the look. I could spend hours just looking at it!! The double bubble glass roof and the two aluminum side rails are without a doubt the trade marks of this car, that add to the overall curvaceous and nicely balanced proportions.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

The 19” Solstice wheels, the full leather interior (although I believe this one’s dashboard is not covered in real leather) and all of the equipment; electric and three way heated driver & passenger seats, bluetooth connectivity, front and rear parking sensors, automatically dimming interior mirror, xenon directional headlamps, hill assist etc.

Solstice 19'' Matt Black Onyx wheel, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Solstice 19” Matt Black Onyx wheel, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

A part from the equipment, the inside is just as nice to look at as the exterior – just look for yourself.

Optional aluminum gear lever, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Optional aluminum gear lever, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather dashboard, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather dashboard, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
First generation Peugeot 308 interior
First generation Peugeot 308 interior

Okay, the dashboard looks very similar to the one of the 308. However, it’s not the same. It differs from the 308’s in the back and instead of having three central vents, the middle one is replaced with a very classy analog clock.

Full leather front seat, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather front seat, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

My car is pretty much stock. The only thing I changed was the gear lever. The original fake leather was not bad, but this optional full aluminum one looks so much more premium and sportier and makes the whole driving experience even more engaging. Being metal, it heats up quickly in the summer, so just be aware of it as you park the car in the sun for a couple of hours.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

I’ve read and watched many reviews on this car and to it’s main competitor; the second generation Audi TT. In most cases, the Audi won, but were they (1) really comparable and (2) really objective about what the journalists said? I don’t care, I love the RCZ for its style, performance, ride and build quality. Yes, it everything inside is well put together and solid.

Passenger door, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Passenger door, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

The only thing that is left for me to improve the style are the center elements of the door trim. On this pre-facelift models, it’s simply plastic, despite all the parts around it are wrapped in leather. The facelifted model has this part covered in stitched leather…Peugeot could have done that right away, don’t you agree? My plan is to have that wrapped in leather, too. So stay tuned. ;-).

Instrument cluster, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Instrument cluster, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

Furthermore, this car is surprisingly practical. The trunk space is huge (321 l). You can even fold down the rear seats and have even more space (639 l). Obvisously, this car wasn’t build to compete with Peterbilt and Freightliner. However, I like to cool it the station wagon of the coupés.

Anyway, the important thing is to look at the entire package. The ride is a little jittery in town, but excellent everywhere else. The chassis keeps the car nicely on track with just very little understeer, the sports seats also hold you firmly in place. I did four laps of the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife this April. Obvisously, I’m far from being an amateur race driver. But still, this car sticks to the road like glue. Finally, dressed up in that silhouette, this car is already a collector car. This is accentuated by the fact that it went out of production on 18 September this year. Peugeot say they won’t replace it anytime soon. But you know what? It doesn’t need to – although it starts to show its age in terms of connectivity and other infotainment gadgets, this car is at least as desirable today as it was the day it was first presented to the public.

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