Ringmeet 2011 extended. Mission: to Modena by Monday

MXM

I paid for this title
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So here's my version of the photoreport. From second pic forward thumbnails are clickable.

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As you know, me and DaBoom had plans on touring around the south Germany, Alps and Italy after the ringmeet. I guess the original idea was to have a somewhat larger group, but for various reasons we were the only ones left in the convoy.

9th of August, meeting up at the harbor in Helsinki, ready to board the ferry. My Caterham "ambitious but... hey, it actually made it!" Seven and DaBoom's BMW "perkelewagon" (credits to D-Fence) 325ix:



The ferry is exhaustingly boring way to travel. It took something like 36 hours to reach Rostock. It also made a stop at a Polish port Gdynia on it's way.



That building looked menacing in the rest of the surrounding.



Anyway, 8am Thursday morning we arrive to Rostock. Wait, did we go to England by mistake? :mad:



The 800km trip to the ring which followed was rainy halfway through. So I could test my roof in the field conditions. It was fine otherwise, but was starting to get airborn at 130 km/h, and required some duct-tape mods. 3/4 of the way there I noticed the strange play in the rear axle of the car. Quick inspection revealed that central bushing that holds the axle laterally in place is bad. We kept going carefully anyway, and arrived at the ring to meet the Slovenians and set up the camp in the evening.



That evening we removed the a-frame in which the bad bushing is mounted to try and figure out a solution.





Long story short, after lots of googling and phone calls, we figured out what I can replace it with, and D-Fence brought me two sets of bushings next morning.



He got them at the MG-shop outside Cologne, and since they had both rubber and polyurethane ones I asked him to get both just in case (well played as it turns out).

Friday morning weather at the campsite:



As a quick recap, I installed the rubber bushings first, which got destroyed by Saturday. Then we replaced them with poly bushings, which lasted for nearly the entire trip. The reason both bushings went bad, is because my a-frame is modified for the rose-joint (that ball-bearing you see few pics earlier), meaning the bore is larger and parallel. Original a-frame has a conical hole on both sides, so the load gets distributed better on the bushings. Also, I almost lost my front left wheel because I forgot the lockpin on the axle nut when assembling the car. Well, that's about it concerning the ringmeet, the rest is in the ringmeet thread.

On monday we decided to go to the Caterham dealer in Germany, since they were quite close to our route, so they can give me their opinion on my problems.





They also sell Suzukis and have a few interesting cars in their showroom.













They got my car on a lift, as I explained the problems I've been experiencing. Namely, the possible damage of the wheel bearing due to the loose axle nut and strong pulling to the left when braking. Their opinion was that the bearing is fine, and the pulling is caused by one stuck brake piston in right-front caliper. They tried to find a replacement for a while, but no luck. The best they could offer is to swap the caliper from the blue car you see on the lift to the right, but they couldn't do it right away, it would take until the next day. Thus we decided to leave it as is, and I would just have to live with unbalanced brakes until the end of the trip. While there they also tightened the rear left axle nut, which backed out a bit (no lockpin there by design). 200 Nm was applied this time, and it lasted until the end of the trip.



So we pressed on.



The camp.



Cockpit view with the roof on, on our way to Stuttgart museum on Tuesday.





The duct-tape fix :) I have one of the fasteners missing at the front edge, which causes the corner of the roof to flap out at high speed. This fixed it.



At the Porsche museum.



Just a few random shots from the museum of no particular importance.















I have much better weather protection :p



There's an unbelievable amount of storage space behind the seats. Jealous :)



The worst of the 90's. Everything is wrong about the style of this thing.





In the parking garage.



After Stuttgart we headed towards Schwarzwald.



Next campsite.



The Schwarzwald was amazing. The roads, the scenery, the altitude variations...









How much better can it get?



Yours truly.



Hey, almost in focus! One of couple of dozen failed attempts :)



Accidentally cool shots :)





On the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse.





I'm not even sure why I post it here, but there's certain appeal to the picture :)



Hehe, the flapping belt in the wind.



After driving through the Schwarzwald we headed to a campsite near Villingen. On the way we found a village with a curious name :)



This should be enough space for a camp...



After the car wash.





This is also when DaBoom discovered a puddle under the front of his car. Chemical analysis of the liquid (sniffing) revealed it to be odourless, so we disregarded it as AC condensate. He also had problems with shaking at a speed, so we stopped by a tyre shop to have his front wheels balanced.





That done, we pressed on towards Alps. Just few minutes in... disaster.







It was the water pump. It was dead. After a few phone calls, an ATU shop was located at Bad D?rrheim (nearby) which could get the pump by tomorrow (Friday). So we towed the bimmer there (with the 7 :p). Sadly it wasn't as easy as planned, and the pump couldn't be found even on Friday, despite calling every shop around and employing the help offered by Ford Prefect. So we had to stay there until Saturday, when ATU replaced the pump.

On Saturday we pressed on, the plan was to make it to Modena by Monday, where we had Pagani and Lambo tours reserved!

E-type! The guy stopped near me to chat when there was heavy traffic :)





First taste of the Alps.





Another accidentally cool pic. Who needs camera rigs? :)





Near the campsite in Austria.



DaBoom making evening tea.



Interesting neighbours from Netherlands. Props to the guy's girlfriend/wife for identifying the Seven while it was still covered :p



Now we're in the Swiss part of Alps.



We stopped to wait for the traffic to pass.



DaBoom may correct me, but I think this was the Fl?ela Pass? Not many pics here, I was too busy driving. These were the most fun roads for me, for sure. I had a very long relatively traffic-free run behind a biker, trying to keep up until I cooked my underperforming brakes. Ok, to be fair, the biker had a passenger with him, otherwise I would have no chance. They are insanely fast there, and unlike cars can overtake everything with ease. We've encountered a few other sevens, all of whom waved enthusiastically at me :p As did the Lotus drivers and pretty much any other british car drivers.







Tight fit.



Finally, Italia!



The famous Stelvio hairpins.





View from the top.





Somewhere on the "other" size of the pass.









My navigation guided us onto a little tiny mountain road, just over a car width :)







Another night at the campsite on the Italian side, and on Monday morning we pressed for Modena along the autrostrada. We made it in time! With some half an hour in reserve. First visit was Pagani.





In the showroom they had a Tricolore, an F and and R.







The R is just so over the top badass, it's hard to express in words.











The rest of the showroom was filled with memorabilia and fan products. They also had a Pagani designed sound system and a WHC chopper :)



A misplaced tag :)



TG powerlap!



One imperfection in otherwise spotless showroom: the portrait is tilted!



Our very expressive and emotional guide: Francesco.



Cameras are not allowed on the production floor, so no pics. But the "factory" is basically 3 large rooms. In the first room they assemble cars, they had last Zondas (including one R) on the stations there, being assembled by a couple of people. In the second room they have the carbon fiber parts manufacturing, and in the third room the massive ovens to cure the panels and trim the pieces. In one other room they had the first production Huayra assembly, they only allowed us to peak inside :)

After the tour was over, we rushed to the other little village to the Lambo factory. We had 1h before the start of the Lambo tour.



Lambo has a very nice little museum at the factory.





Funny to see a transfer box at the side of the V-engine.



Guess the car :)



Ah, the best looking car... in the world.



Ok, this isn't too bad either.









I hope they do make it eventually, it looks great in real life. Unfortunate angle for a picture, though.



The Lambo Multipla :yucky:



The Lambo tour was quite different. It's a megafactory compared to Pagani's shed. Although I have to say I enjoyed Pagani more. After being to two Porsche factories and an Audi factory, there was really nothing new to see. It's the same process everywhere, maybe less robots at Lambo. Same assembly line, just-in-time parts delivery, and other typical practices. The cars were different obviously, and Aventator is really a stunning machine, very worthy successor to the Murcielago imo. But still, Pagani was very cool in it's own way, even though they are by and large mostly a CF specialist shop. But you get closer to the process and get more interesting details imo.

The weather in Modena was hell. 40 C scorching hell. So we decided to escape to the north right away, and we spent the next night at the Garda lake.



We continued further north and towards east for the next day, and stopped at Colfosco/Corvara for the next night (DaBoom has more pics here).





I took this pic to show the massive camber of the hairpin, but surely - the pic reveals nothing. You need to be there :)



This guy was going insanely fast, overtook multiple cars, including us. He was doing at least 70 km/h on the straights and hardly slowing for the hairpins :)



That morning I had my a-frame bushings fail again. The polyurethane bushings sheared right off. They lasted for a while though, but now I was out of options, so I made a quickfix and put the car into the limp-home mode. I took the remains of the poly-bushes, cut them to the length to match the tube of the a-frame and used washers to fill the remaining gap. This made it almost a solid link, so the axle doesn't respond well to the car roll, but at least it stays in the center of the car.



This is why we decided to take it easy and head north instead of exploring more of Italy. We went through the Austria to the Bavarian forests.



The forests offered more driving joy, with 100 km/h limits and very fast, long sweeping bends.





Next campsite was somewhere not far from Cham. It was the best value/money night so far. 10e for both! And they had good facilities too.



And finally it was Friday, we had to make it to the ferry by midnight. This was the longest run for me in one sitting so far. Over 850 km with pretty much only stopping for fuel.

At the port, loading the bimmer with essentials.





And so it was over. 4700 km according to my logs. 22 fuel-up stops and 516 litres of petrol. Almost exactly 2k eur spent in total. It was a great trip, with the ringmeet being the peak, of course. Both cars made it, even though not entirely without troubles. I am in general quite pleased with my 7, the engine performed beautifully in every case, never giving any trouble or overheating even in Italy (although my fuel pump sounded like it was giving up due to the heat). It consumed less than 1L of oil in total, which is good for any engine over such a distance and stress, I'd say. I would've liked to do more ring laps, and probably would, if we had more time and I didn't have my suspension problems.

Here's my GPS Logger plot, I had it log a position every 10 seconds. It failed a couple of times, the straight lines and gaps indicate that.



Helsinki. Heading home.



Waiting for DaBoom's photos now :)
 
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Blayde

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Ringmeet, Stelvio, Italian supercar tours, and the horrors and joy of british open top motoring, truly you have lived
 

sifu

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+ your cars are in better condition now :)
 

Viper007Bond

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So so awesome. When I eventually get a Viper, I'd love to do such a trip. Looks amazing.
 

D-Fence

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So so awesome. When I eventually get a Viper, I'd love to do such a trip. Looks amazing.

You will get stuck because of the width of that car & small towns ;)

Awesome trip guys, glad you made it despite all the stupid problems (and Adu coined the term Perkelewagon!!)
 

Adunaphel

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Viper007Bond

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You will get stuck because of the width of that car & small towns ;)

It'd be stupid expensive to ship a car over there, drive it, etc. I more meant something along the lines of that but over here. :)
 

Lastsoul

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Epic. Such a roadtrips are the best thing to do with cars and you guys probably covered most of the greatest driving roads in one trip.
 

TobiasG

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So, did you find out how to pronounce "Huayra"?
 

MacGuffin

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I'm envious. I really am.

Too bad you lost time fixing the BMW. On the way back you could have also stopped in Wolfsburg for a day.
 

DaBoom

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The report, part 1: Ringmeet

The report, part 1: Ringmeet

Wall of text warning. Seriously :blink:

I'll start with a back story from early July at gear.fi roadtrip/meet as this was the first time me and MXM had time to discuss about the ringmeet trip and plan a bit about where to go, what to do etc. Also, this was the first time my car started to show signs of drive train trouble. Further inspections showed that I now had a very rare front wheel drive BMW at my hands. I'm not very good at diagnosing problems nor do I know much about 4wds so I just assumed that the transfer box was broken in some way as the internet says it's always the part that fails. :p I went to a Finnish BMW club track day to get some info on my problem as there are always more knowledgeable people there willing to help. I even did few (very understeery) laps there. :D Back home I found one crashed ix being sold for parts in a nearby town. So I sourced the transfer box there. After jacking the car up and removing the exhaust and heat shields I saw that both drive shafts are spinning as I spin front wheels. Even if the rear wheels are on the ground.. So I (too) quickly came to the conclusion that the rear differential is broken. At this point I think I had 2 and a half weeks until departure. There was none on sale in Finland so I bought one from Germany via ebay.

While waiting for the diff to arrive I tried to replace all shocks as they needed replacing. And of course more good news popped up.

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Yup, the whole strut tower was rusted in half. :shock: At least replacement part was on tap from the same crashed car I got the transfer case from. And as the car wasn't going anywhere I thought I'll remove the rear diff so I could install the new one faster. This is when I finally found the cause to the front wheel drive onlyness. Right drive shaft was broken. A week and a half till departure...

Drive shaft itself is common to almost every e30, but of course the drive flange has to be an ix special. So, back to ebay. I managed to find new swing arms from Germany and the guy very kindly mailed the parts within an hour of my purchase. Parts were sent on Thursday from southern Germany and they arrived to Finland on Saturday. Then it took Finnish postal service 4-5 working days to deliver the remaining 140km. The wrong half arrived on Thursday and the one I needed on Friday. And ship was departing on Tuesday. Needless to say the weekend was spent under the car and on Monday afternoon the car was finished (enough). After a long shower and dinner it occurred to me. Under 24h before departure and I haven't even thought about packing. S**t!

I think both MXM and I were too busy building/fixing our cars up to the last moment so neither of us had much time to think about packing or anything else concerning the trip. But at least I had the cargo space to pack up on the safe side. :)

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As MXM stated there really isn't much to tell about the boat trip. Other than quite stormy weather and me spending 16e on dinner that I couldn't eat as I was too seasick.

So, Thursday morning then. We arrived to the Rostock harbor and to a proper rainstorm. On the autobahn MXM quickly discovered that 120-130kph really is the maximum safe speed for the 7 in the rain (or with roof up in general).

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There's a 7 in there somewhere..

At first fuel stop it was time to deploy the duct tape! The roof let a bit of water in so this was just to keep things more comfortable in the seven.
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About half an hour later the rain stopped and it got so warm that the roof had to go. The rest of the way we had some sun and 24-26C temperatures, so much better.

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Quechua wind deflector

The seven could even go a bit faster without the roof. Some hours and km's later it was time for bad news for the first time. The seven was feeling increasingly unstable at speed. First we addressed one feature that is the loosening rear left axle nut. Then we discovered the bushing issue which I think has had enough coverage already? :) Pressing on we arrived at the campsite at about 6PM. But as team Slovenia was still hours away and there really isn't much to do we decided to head to the track to see if there's anything going on.

We drove to Pflanzgarten (and yes, I needed to copypaste) and within minutes my car was spotted by few BMW club members from my hometown as they were just driving past in their rental. :blink: After a while we headed back to the campsite via Lidl to get MXM a pre-paid data SIM. While doing that one more thing I didn't have time to think about occurred to me. Adunaphel is bringing me a tent.. Tomorrow. Not that it was a big problem though. At least I had a good reason to test out the tourings camping-capabilities. Rest of the night was spent diagnosing the seven at the camp site and trying to find some spare parts somewhere.

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My accommodation for the first night.

I think fridays happenings has been documented well enough so just a quick summary. Took off towards the track in the morning to watch the OGP. And while hanging around there I spotted the BCF members from my hometown again. And the evening BBQing and hanging out at the camp site. Quick picdump of random sightings. Can you tell what kind of cars I like..? :p

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For frankiess

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For public

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Looks rather purposeful

Similar quick recap from Saturday. Saturday morning we tried to avoid the traffic jam with mikas by going to Hatzenbach. And of course as we got there the track closed almost immediately. Well, at least there was something happening at the GP-track. And it was truly the best time to be there as we got to hear the M1 blasting around the track. The one car I wanted to hear live. After that we relocated to the tourist entrance. As there had been so much wrong with the car I really didn't trust it too much but I still did two laps. It went well, although the suspension was way too soft for this. But then again I bought this car mainly for the winter so this isn't really a big priority. :)

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Later in the afternoon it was time for the scenic drive. As I found last year it is a good way to learn to know new people. So I grabbed TobiasG out of the co-driver lineup and we headed to the parking exit to release people in timed intervals. Or at least we tried. :D Clearly almost no-one had heard about this plan and just set off randomly. We, as oh so many others refueled on the way and after arriving back at the campsite it was time to drive to the dinner place.

I took swek, h-p and Galantti in my car and as none of us knew where we were going we had to blindly trust MXMs Tomtom. it directed us through the woods via very small and narrow twisty roads but at least we made it to the right place. After the dinner we went back and guided shady Ice through the dark forests to Adenau to get some ice (yo dawg). From there it was just a straight drive back to the camp site so of course Ice managed to get lost. Rest of the night was spent just hanging around. And like the night before I went to bed at a point when everyone else awake was speaking german.. :p

Sunday morning, pouring rain. Most of the morning was spent just waiting for the rain to stop. rain seized for few minutes, so I quickly packed up my gear as I still need them again in very near future. After packing those who stayed went to the track to watch the tourist drive as usual (well, there isn't much else to do). In the afternoon the weather was clearing out nicely so I did one more lap and got nice clear (and dry) run. Not surprisingly there were significantly less traffic. Sky was still partly dark and knowing the unstable climate of the Eifel we thought it would be best to reserve a place with a solid roof. So with Thomas' help we booked in to the same hotel that he and Kip stayed during the ringmeet. Later in the evening it was only me, MXM and Kip left. Kip and MXM tried each others cars around the nearby roads of the campsite. After that we just checked out some fotos from the weekend and called it an early night to get ready for a longer stint next day.

To counter all the videos from MXMs car :p


As the ringmeet was over and we had paid for a room we of course woke up to a sunny, warm morning. After breakfast we bid farewell to Kip and after the sticker ceremonies it was time to head towards Schwarzwald.

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A Final gear road mascot



And I also have seemingly transformed myself into a novelist. I'll add rest of the trip in parts later. :)
 
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