A few thoughts about cars

QOTD #53: Why would a Jaguar XJ6 lean to one side?

During my last visit to the Jaguar Forums, I came across this helpful post. The owner of a 1997 Jaguar XJ6 L complained that the right side of his car rode lower than the left. After replacing the front shocks, nothing changed. The right side was still about 1/4″ lower than the left side.

Why would a Jaguar XJ6 lean a little lower on one side?

Several people came up with suggestions, but Don B. offered the most probable solution to the problem.

jaguar xj6 shock diagram“It is not unheard of for springs to sag with age, but the most common cause of sagging ride height is deterioration of the big foam rubber ‘donut’ spring isolator bushes, Part 5 in the diagram below. Since the bushes are more than an inch thick, there is a lot of ride height to be lost as they lose their resilience and compress with age.”

Hunting down a problem is the hardest part of working on cars — especially a Jaguar XJ6 (X300). If it had been my problem, I probably would have bought new springs, shock absorbers, tires, and then sold the car to relieve my frustration before realizing what the real problem was. That’s the beauty of visiting the forum when a problem arises.

VW Gets it Right

Driving a German Car in a July 4th parade?

Yesterday was July 4th, the 238th anniversary of our country’s declaration of independence. As we were driving to help Sarah Fowler pass out re-election campaign literature during the Chesterland parade, I wondered if it might help my friend to offer the use of our Mercedes-Benz for the parade. By the time I got there, it was too late to make that change as everyone was already in position to start.

I think that a Mercedes-Benz would be a nice touch to her campaign for re-election to the State Board of Election. But I also wondered if driving a German car in a July 4th parade might be a slap in the face to some WW II era people. Those who lost loved ones during the war may never be able to enjoy anything built by Germany, Japan, or Italy. But for others like me, whose parents were infants during that war, there is no feeling of ill will toward the current people in those countries.


Just before the parade left the parking lot, my family walked back to see the old cars that would be accompanying the others. There were several American cars painted a variety of bright colors, but the one car that stuck out to me (besides the Jeep FC fire truck I was unable to picture) was this 1930′s Mercedes-Benz convertible. At first I thought it was a VW conversion but when he started the engine, you could tell the engine was in the front. Was it real? No, the owner told me it was a replica riding on a Ford frame with a Mustang engine from the 1980′s. Very nice.

I do not mean to denigrate the feelings of those who fought during the wars before I was born. Instead, I am happy to say that the freedoms they fought for include the ability for each citizen to make his own choices regardless of how others feel about them. In the USA, we are free to worship God according to our own beliefs, choose to vote for those who represent our own point of view, and we have the right to voice our point of view. Those are good things that I hope continue in the future. In the mean time, I’ll keep driving a Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar just because I can.

Test Drive : Lotus 7 Replica

Our drive to church on Sunday morning is about 40 minutes. As a family we have used that time to read various books to each other. It gives reading practice to the children and keeps them from pestering each other. Our latest book is from the original Tom Swift series from the early 1900′s. During each novel, young Tom invents or improves something like a motorcycle, electric car, or flying machine. The stories are quite dated but are exciting and make you think that maybe you could build something yourself. That’s a good thing.


This Sunday, after our afternoon church service, I got to drive a Lotus 7 replica that is being built by the son of one of our church members. As you can see in the pictures below, it is not quite completed. The owner is slowly working on it and hopes to add fenders for the wheels eventually as well as a hood to cover the engine. This one has a turbo-charged Mazda Miata engine with a 5-speed manual transmission. It certainly makes me walk over for a look every time I see it. Notice how low it sits to the ground?

“You know it’s a Lotus when your knuckles touch the ground.”
–Jon Engdahl

The owner offered me a ride and we drove up Rt. 322 about a mile. He gave it the gas and made it move pretty quickly. Of course, being that low to the ground, everything seems fast. Then he surprised me by asking if I wanted to drive it. “Sure,” I said. We switched places in somebody’s driveway and I backed it out and back onto 322. It took me a while to get used to the bottom hinged pedals. But after over-revving the engine a couple times, I managed to get it into the various gears. The biggest surprise was pressing the brake pedal — no power brakes! We made it back safely but from the picture someone took, it looks like he didn’t like my driving. (Actually, he didn’t complain. It’s just a bit awkward to get out of the car.)


I’m of the opinion that it would take a lot of patience to build a car from the ground up. But on the positive side, you would know the vehicle inside and out and probably appreciate it more. The owner of this car has been working on it for several years and drives it daily when the weather permits. That reminds me of the scientist inventor in the old Tom Swift books we’ve been reading. Funny thing is that the owner’s father has the entire first series of those books.


I don’t think so.

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Upgraded Cats

two cats

I updated both cats yesterday. One received a new flea collar and the other some touch up paint. Both are happy.

What’s the Scoop? — New Volvo XC90, AMG GT V8, White Zombie


The All New Volvo XC90 Transforms In-Car Driving Experience


The more I see of the new Volvo XC90′s interior, the more I like it. This picture gives a good glimpse of the MY16 XC90 dash gauges. I imagine they are similar to the TFT gauges in the current model lineup but better. They remind me of the current S-Class setup which looks like a laptop screen stretched across where the gauges once sat. The new Volvo XC90 (MY16) will be state of the art and completely connected at all times. Click the title above to read Chris Stewart’s explanation of the benefits of all this technology.

Mercedes-AMG GT’s New Engine

When I was young, my friends and I always talked about how big an engine’s displacement was. Anything under 302 cubic inches was a sissy car. Since then I’ve come to realize my ignorance. It’s not the size of the engine but what you do with it that makes the difference. Mercedes-Benz and AMG have teamed up to create the all-new 4.0L twin-turbo charged V8. Packing 521 hp and 479 lb ft of torque, the new GT will not lack for power. (Click the title above to read the entire article.)

White Zombie at the Drag Strip

I have a very simple understanding of how electricity works and must also admit that electric cars don’t do much for me. I wouldn’t mind driving a gasoline powered engine for the rest of my life. But after watching this video, my interest in electric powered vehicles is piqued. This man’s explanation makes a lot of sense. I find it especially interesting to see how the onboard computer switches how the two electric motors are wired to boost hp or torque. (Click the title above to read the entire article.)

QOTD #52 : How much can a 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML500 tow?


There are several challenges that accompanied my search for the answer. The first problem was finding the correct year owner’s manual. The manual that came with the car had a date of 2008 (edition date and version are located on the back cover). For that year, towing capacity was higher. The second problem was that our pre-owned ML500 is not equipped with the towing package. To properly tow a trailer, the new owner would require a hitch, skid plate, and a software update to accommodate the weight. After a search through the dealership, I found the proper manual for a 2006 ML500.


A 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML500 tow rating is 5000 lbs.

According to the 2006 USA Edition D Operator’s Manual M-Class, “the maximum permissible gross trailer weight to be towed is 5000 lbs.” Note again that this applies to an M-Class properly equipped with the towing package. Members of the various Mercedes-Benz forums have claimed different capacities. And aftermarket hitches may have a different capacity than what is recommended by Mercedes-Benz. If I was the owner of a Mercedes-Benz ML500, I think I would go by the book. Who wants to replace a transmission or rear suspension? Be wise.

2014 Volvo XC90 Accessories

Bicycle Holder, Hitch Mounted
Let’s you carry up to 2 bikes + 1 with extra carrier (or other pieces of baggage) weighing up to 110 lb. The low installation makes it easy to load – and it can also be tilted for easy access to the load compartment.


Silver Wing Profile Cross Bars
An aerodynamic design element that complements the aluminum roof rails and the Volvo XC design. These aluminum cross bars also allow you to exploit the roof’s load-carrying capacity.


Mudflaps, Front and Rear
Specially developed to match the design of your Volvo – and an integrated part of the wheel arch – these mudflaps help protect the car’s body from mud and flying stones.


Garmin GPS, A-Pillar Mounted
Volvo’s portable navigation system is sleek and stylish, yet loaded with really smart navigation features and convenient functions. Enjoy the bright multi-touch display, the voice-activated navigation, 3D views, lane assist and many other great features.


New Volvo XC90 : Interior Revealed

VO 001

The all-new Volvo XC90, designed around you.

Drawing on the best of Scandinavian design, the all-new XC90 offers a refreshingly elegant and modern interior, that is effortlessly beautiful and crafted from only the finest materials.

Good design is a way of life in Sweden. We are driven to make life easier. We use technology to make life less complicated. The all-new XC90’s interior combines the expected luxurious materials, such as soft Nappa leather and dark flame birch wood, with unique handcrafted details, including a gear-lever made of crystal from Orrefors, the famous Swedish glass maker, and diamond-cut controls for the start/stop button and volume control.

VO 002“The most striking feature is a tablet-like touch screen control console, which forms the heart of an all-new in-car control system,” said Thomas Ingenlath, senior vice president design of Volvo Cars. This system is virtually button free – a drastic difference to that of other cars – and represents an entirely new way for drivers to control their car and access a range of Internet-based products and services.

The all-new XC90 story will continue to unfold over the summer. The story of the latest advancements within safety and interior air quality will be released later this summer, while the reveal of the technology highlights, including chassis and powertrains, will start in mid-July and continue throughout the summer until the exterior launch at the end of August.

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Save Money on a New Volvo

The Wonder of Summer Sales Event at Volvo of Willoughby

The Wonder of SummerSave money on a new Volvo when you lease, finance, or purchase a new 2014-15 Volvo. You will receive Complimentary Factory Scheduled Maintenance and Wear & Tear Coverage for up to 5 years or 50,000 miles. (Leases are covered for 3 yrs/36k miles.) And those who choose to lease or finance any new 2014-15 Volvo through Volvo Car Financial Services will receive a credit good for their first month’s payment. The special offer is good from 6/3/2014 through 9/2/2014.

Five Years of Free Maintenance?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have five years worth of maintenance at no cost to you? And wouldn’t it be nice to do without a car payment for one month? We think that you will enjoy taking advantage of both. Add to that the free valet service our dealership offers and you have a win-win situation. It is definitely a step in the right direction.

Click here to see our current inventory.

Anything else?

You can also take advantage of Volvo’s Conquest and Loyalty offers. Current Volvo owners can save $500-1000 off a new Volvo with Volvo Loyalty. If you don’t own a Volvo, you can save with Volvo’s Conquest Offer. Save $1000 off a new S60 or XC60 if you own one of the following makes: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, or Volkswagen. This cannot be combined with Volvo Loyalty.

Complimentary factory scheduled maintenance, complimentary first month’s payment, and Volvo Loyalty up to $1000 or a Conquest Bonus of $1000 on a new 2014-15 S60 or XC60 — Any way you look at it, it’s a great time to lease or purchase a Volvo!

When would be a good time for you to test drive your new Volvo?

Volvo of Willoughby
38750 Mentor Avenue
Willoughby OH 44094
(440) 946-6900

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