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      08-02-2008, 01:34 AM   #23
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Wow...great write-up and pictures. I can't believe a cop is so desperate to pull someone over for 6 mph over the speed limit. Crazy bugs...I wonder how many different species. Hey, aren't some of those bugs in a National Park protected?...box'em up and ship them back...he he.
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      08-02-2008, 01:36 AM   #24
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Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for the splendid trip report.

Laszlo was right - you're a great writer. Cogent, relevant, and witty. Funniest bit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvacha View Post
I have now become one with my car, I know where all four wheels are all the time. I am beginning to think I could successfully navigate the Ho Chi Minh trail in an M3. Hummers are so yesterday.
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      08-02-2008, 05:50 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvacha View Post
M. Off the track Iíve always thought 5th gear was worthless. It turns out to be a perfect fuel saving gear for national parks and their nominal 45 MPH limits. I vote we keep the gear after all.
I think that's priceless about 5th. I rarely use it, I think it's close to a drone sound around 45-50, so I skip to 6th.

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Originally Posted by rvacha View Post
N. The suspension can handle any crap thrown at it brilliantly. Bravo.
I agree. I used to be crazy about stiffening up the EDC for high speed driving turns until my last M Intensive Driver Training, where I saw how the softest suspension gives u a lot more grip if it's wet out, avoids understeer, or handles dirt on the road in the turns, etc.

Great write-up
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      08-02-2008, 07:44 AM   #26
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Great informative post. I'm going on a road trip next week and will use the navigation map to predict turns through the mountains. Thanks.
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      08-02-2008, 08:11 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by ihyln View Post
Actually, it seems to do the opposite. The bugs are trapped underneath the mesh. Wierd.
I know for a fact it sucks bugs from the top side since I got really anal about this for a few hours and watched them fly by and get sucked in. Turbulence across the hood (i.e. passing a truck) would clear out the less stuck ones. With that said it is quite possible they come up through the front duct as well.

The picture is a somewhat deceiving in that it doesn't look like they are sticking up above the grill but many were. I nonetheless would always open the hood and pull them out from the bottom side so I could keep the remains from dropping into the airbox. Now that I've taken apart the airbox I see there is no need for such effort - itís really hard to imagine much getting stuck in there for a long time
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      08-02-2008, 08:26 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW / Oregon View Post
I assume you are a student to be able to take that much time off?
Nah, I'm an old geezer - according the statistics I don't own an M3

I have been lucky enough to work for a great California-based semi company for many years. Nice vacation package allows long (2-3 week) diddies every year and then every 5 years I get a sabbatical where I do longer adventures. This is a sabbatical year for me but the trip got neutered due to personal complications so it's actually not a long one by my standards. During my last sabbatical in '03 I drove a circuitous path to Alaska and back, 12,100 miles in 6 weeks. The Alaska trip was the only one in recent memory where I did not drive an ///M - I drove my X5 that time, bought new just for that trip. That was a good move as we used every capacity of the X5 there!
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      08-02-2008, 08:36 AM   #29
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Some Nicer Pics

From the west....
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      08-02-2008, 08:40 AM   #30
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Very nice write up and pics!

Props to you for driving your M and letting her stretch her legs.

Thanks for sharing.
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      08-02-2008, 09:07 AM   #31
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Great write up.

The bugs are nasty.
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      08-02-2008, 05:28 PM   #32
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Awesome info on your X-country trip. Hope all that bug-shit washes off good. I'm planning on traveling from the UK to Belgium in September for the Formula 1 race at Spa Francochamps which isn't as far as your trip but should be far enough to highlight some facts/issues/theory's about the M3 as those roads can be enjoyed at 120+mph sustained. I did the trip last year with my girl friend and I held 120mph steady for 5-15 minutes at a time except for passing or slowing down for traffic through France and Belgium. Next summer is a 3,000+ mile trip to Rome and back...hopefully. Can't wait!!
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      08-05-2008, 06:58 AM   #33
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Great write-up Rvacha! OMG at the bugs!
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      08-05-2008, 07:03 AM   #34
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Great write-up Rvacha! OMG at the bugs!
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      08-05-2008, 08:11 AM   #35
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Nice write-up!

Thought the LI sensors were best installed horizontal? I have mine in hand just waiting to install and find the right locations. Thoughts?
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      08-05-2008, 05:40 PM   #36
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It doesn't matter if they are mounted horizontally or vertically as long as they are level. It is the positioning of the sensors that I find troubling on the M3. Ideally you want the sensors close to where cops will the targeting, which usually means either the headlights or license plate since these are the most reflective. Here in Ohio where front plates are mandatory and specifically designed to be highly reflective, the plates are the number one target. If you mount the sensors horizontally then they must be placed in the large "mouth " area of the front bumper which is too far away from the headlights IMHO. If you mount them vertically they are best placed in the grills like I have them. In this case the ideal position will be bubble down since that is where the actual laser receiver is located and this would make the distance to the plate and headlights equidistant. Mounting the bubbles down while giving them an excellent field of view forces the top bubble-less end to protrude from the grill a WHOLE lot and I didn't like the aesthetics of that. So my mount is a compromise for aesthetics

The slanting of the grill is not so appareant until you check it against level. In this bad pic (sorry its what I have on hand at the moment) you can see that if I mounted bubble down I'd have to bring the entire sensor unit way forward and then the top corner would protrude a lot
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      08-06-2008, 01:25 AM   #37
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great write-up, rvacha. i really enjoyed the pics too..

just curious - did you clear-bra your car? if not, what was the rock chip story after you got the bugs washed off?
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      08-06-2008, 07:04 AM   #38
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I did not clear bra my car. This decision was driven in part by previous experiences (hitting big objects that require a repaint and/or a new bumper anyway), excellent durability of my '06 330xi paint job and my use of the new Zaino no buff/wipe/rub synthetic car wax. On this trip I was more aggressive in trying to avoid rocks but nonethelss my paint shows no chips at all. There two locations were the paint is slightly scuffed (presumably due to rocks sliding by) but I may be able to buff these out. I haven't had a chance to fix them yet due to a family emergency. In the past it's not so much the chips that have bothered me - they are typically hard to see - its the fact that once I wax the car with a synthetic wax the chips whiten and then the chips really stand out. The Zaino wax is non-whitening and this is a huge plus for me in the battle of the chips.
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      08-06-2008, 07:32 AM   #39
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Alternate Clear Bra Locations (Illustrated)

There was a thread somewhere that I cannot find in which someone asked "other then the hood and bumper, where else should clear bra be applied?" I have illustrated these locations with genuine Wyoming "dirt". An area that gets an unusual amount of abuse is the really dirty spot behind the rear wheels - on the INSIDE edge. The paint on my car looks fine here but it is really rough to the touch and has clearly been pelted by a lot of rocks and pebbles.
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