Seen around the shop!

Every once in a while, we are reminded how lucky we are to be able to do what we love to earn a living. We all tend to get tied up in the day to day battles that are our immediate life, but sometimes you just have to take a step back and enjoy. With that in mind, below are some digital images taken in the past few weeks from my cell phone (sorry for the lack of quality) of some of the people, cars and bits and bobs that we have hanging out on a daily basis. Being such hardcore car geeks as we are, it is easy to overlook how cool some of the stuff we work on really is. So time to share... Hope you enjoy!

Outside the shop, we have a 1989 911 (964) Carrera 4, first of the all wheel drive 911s. If you have never been lucky enough to drive a 964, we highly recommend it! Becoming ever more desirable and therefore valuable, the 964 has had a past overshadowed by her successor the 993, which is understandable, but given the choice we might have a hard time making a selection. In the background we have an Audi A6, a gorgeous Mercedes Benz 450 SL and a Porsche 911 (996) Targa.

No badges on this weapon. Any guesses? Sometimes aftermarket bits, like the GT2 style wing and the quad exhaust outlets, are for looks... but not in this case. This sinister girl is heavily modified for power, speed and agility. She started life in Texas as a run of the mill Porsche 996 Turbo, fully loaded mind you, with carbon fiber and leather wrapped everything. Delicious terracotta full leather interior. Then her previous owner decided to make her faster, with no expense spared. He commissioned her modifications from a company that is so high end, they get their own Porsche serial numbers. Did you figure it out yet? She is a RUF Turbo R 650. Yes the 650 signifies her horsepower. Titanium goodies inside the engine, massaged turbos, extra boost, bigger brakes, stiffer yet still supple suspension, QUAD PIPES! This is one serious car and only for those with deep pockets and fearless consciences.

EXTREME CLOSE UP: RUF Rear Sway Bar on the 996 Turbo R 650, easily seen while she is up on the lift getting checked for safety.

Blue, custom fabricated, hi-flow headers are like functional jewelry for zee turbo! Exhaust gas management is essential in making big turbo charged power.

With great power comes great responsibility. Carbon ceramic composite brakes of the RUF Turbo R 650. When you can do 210+ mph, stopping is equally as important as going. These may look like standard ceramics but if you look closely, you can see the extra details that show they are specifically upgraded for this car.

Here we have shop owner and head technician, Rick Dobush, rebuilding an Audi 2.7L twin turbo engine.

A shot from the front shows the timing belt that keeps both sides of the V6 spinning in sync.

From above, we can see the valve covers have been installed on the remanufactured cylinder heads.

This shot is from the rear of the engine was taken a little earlier as you can see the intake and exhaust camshafts are still exposed.

The wizard's little helper: Carlos takes instruction from Rick while plumbing hoses, pipes and wires on the 2.7 twin turbo engine.

Classic design is timeless. 16 years separate this Brown 1973 911T from this 1989 911 Carrera 4. Can you spot the evolutionary similarities and differences?

Bavarian Motor Works 540i, a bench mark of luxury, performance and driving enthusiasm from the late 90's.

Another BMW. This one clearly from an earlier era. This 1972 3.0 CS came to us in great shape but would not run. Once we sorted out some electrical glitches she is back up and running and ready to be tuned. By the time she is done here, she will be running as good as new, and maybe even better!

This Porsche 968 is an excellent example of the last of the front engine four cylinder sports cars from the company. Interesting how it seems that Porsche is headed back into the four cylinder market very soon. We were involved from before day one with her current owner. A long time client, he asked us for assistance in researching, inspecting and purchasing the car, which we were happy to help with. The end result was a very happy client with a great car! Don't hesitate ask us how we can help with your next automotive purchase or sale.

The infamous Porsche M96 (996) flat six engine. This one being removed for repairs and upgrades.

The right side of a 1981 Porsche 911 SC 3.0 Liter engine sits on an engine stand. With the left side of the engine case removed you can clearly see the rotating bits of the bottom end of the motor. This one is slated for a full rebuild for a bit more power, efficiency, reliability and responsiveness.

Talk about classic lines and excellent color. This baby has class for days.

Above is a 1961 Porsche 356 in mildly restored condition. An absolute joy to drive as well as just to soak in and look at. We fall in love with every single one. This one is no exception.

Unlikely stall mates? Not here at Bavarian Rocket Science! A modern BMW deserves just as much attention to detail as her distant relative from the 60's. Automotive bloodlines run deep.

Rick carefully installs a new distributor on the '61. Getting it installed is fairly simple, however fine tuning and getting the system to function properly takes patience, skill, acute senses and a lot of experience to get it just right. The end result is the difference between a good running car and an excellent one!

Much like the Phantom of the Opera sitting at a huge pipe organ, this shot personifies the Porsche Master Technician in his natural environment. Rick doing what he does best!

Stickers not only make your car cooler and run better, but this particular one makes it faster, smarter and better looking as well. Contact us if you would like one.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the sights around the shop. Please send us some feedback and let us know what you think. We look forward to hearing from you and would love to have you stop by the shop to see what is going on for yourself. Let us know if you would like to make an appointment or just swing by. Thanks for reading and take care of each other!

Let's Get Technical: Cooling Water Pumps

By Tom Dobush                                                              July 1st, 2014                            


Well summer is here and in full swing, now is a good time to go over keeping your car cool. AC is usually on the list of service items this time of year, and that is all fine and dandy for you, but what about your engine’s cooling system? It is vital that the cooling system be checked and serviced regularly to ensure optimal and reliable performance.

Regardless of the age and level of complexity of your vehicle, a properly functioning cooling system is relatively simple to maintain. The concept is that internal combustion engines produce a lot of heat and therefore need to be cooled by air and water or another type of coolant. Coolant is pumped through channels inside of the engine and then through a series of pipes and hoses to a radiator. The radiator is a metal box designed with lots of surface area to remove the heat energy from the coolant as it flows through. It is this flow that is most important, if the coolant does not circulate properly through the engine, hot spots can develop and systems can fail commonly known as “overheating”.

A basic diagram of a generic cooling system layout.

Coolant is usually a water based liquid that also contains chemicals to provide lubrication and keep it from freezing in the winter months, which is where the term antifreeze comes from. To keep the system flowing properly, the vehicle is usually equipped with a thermostat and water pump in some shape or form. Everything used to be very mechanical up until the last ten years or so, where now we see many of these devices being controlled and monitored electronically by the cars on board computer system. Before, as on older vehicles, one can sometimes hear a faulty water pump, as the bearing that keeps it spinning tends to make noise when worn out, kind of a low hum. With the newer computer controlled devices they tend to not give much warning and simply stop working. This usually results in some manner of warning light on the dash. In order to avoid a warning light, especially where it may already be too late to prevent overheating damage by the time the light comes on, regular maintenance intervals are recommended. These intervals are typically something like 30-50k miles depending on your model.

A well seasoned water pump on the bench after removal from a Mercedes C230. Proof that even metal impellers can fail.

This maintenance involves replacing the water pump and thermostat devices along with any seals or hoses that may also be required and then flushing the cooling system with fresh coolant. It is during this maintenance service that sometimes an option can be considered. All water pumps are not created equal. Some have plastic impellers while others have metal. I was recently asked to discuss the idea and benefits associated with each. Typically, these days water pumps come with plastic impellers to fit design parameters and keep costs down, however we often recommend upgrading to a new water pump with a metal impeller for most applications when available.

Upon closer inspection, it is clear that the impeller has completely separated from the shaft. Not good for coolant circulation. This car did over heat and was well over the recommended maintenance interval. Unfortunately, she was so far gone, the car could not be saved.

Plastic tends to do the job fine, and is usually cheaper at first but after several years of use, and thousands of hot and cold cycles, they run the risk of becoming brittle and slowly disintegrating. The little plastic pieces of the impeller can then be spread throughout the cooling system and clog up vital cooling passageways, potentially causing big problems. So going for the cheapest solution can have very expensive consequences. With that said however, some designs require plastic, as metal could do damage as well. In some engines the water pump is located very close to the engine block and if a metal impeller was to fail and score the block from rubbing against it, major damage can occur.

Two BMW style water pumps. On the left is the new part, with metal impeller, on the right is a used, worn out water pump with a plastic impeller, removed before excessive deterioration.

There are obvious risks to each side of the argument, my point of view being that the water pump should be replaced as a maintenance item, however I feel plastic debris in the cooling system comes with potentially higher risk as a "silent killer" not being easily detectable, at least potentially not until damage of hot spots and/or oil/coolant “sludging” has already been done. With the metal impeller design you do run a slight risk of possibly gouging the case, however there are auditory warnings from the bearing in most cases well before enough "wobble" causes damage.

Regardless of the material used for the impeller, it should be replaced at 30-50k intervals depending on usage and risk avoidance preferences. It comes down to the question of which is more damaging, carries a higher risk, and is more likely to occur? From my experience with these types of water cooled engines, we know that plastic impellers will deteriorate, sometimes faster than anticipated, and that metal impellers do not nearly at the same frequency. If the water pump is going to be replaced at 30-50k mile intervals anyways, why not choose the impeller that is not going to deteriorate, and that will show signs (noise) of bearing wear before any issue occurs?

Of course, neither is a perfect answer and there are risks associated with each side of the argument. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preferences in the matter. My philosophy has always been the more often a specialist can inspect/maintain a vehicle, the greater likelihood they will find an issue before it becomes a damaging problem. This is why we encourage our clients to bring their cars in for regular check ups and not only when they are fearful of an issue that may be occurring.

Think of it like insurance and protecting your investment, much like regular doctor or dentist visits. We would rather see a client and their car once a month and only have preventative maintenance to discuss rather than less often and have only bad news and expensive repairs to talk about.

What would you like to read about in my next article? I greatly appreciate your questions, input and feedback. I can be easily reached at BavarianRocketScience@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and happy motoring!

Let's Get Technical: Polishing & Waxing

By Tom Dobush, May 2014

Now that you have cleaned your car inside and out, it is a good idea to protect it. Protecting your car’s painted surfaces not only protect its curb appeal but also its value, not to mention a waxed car is usually much easier to clean the next time around. So we’ll cover polishing, sealing and waxing which should be done regularly after washing.

Just like with soaps or even motor oil, whichever products you choose as the best for your car are up to you. There are lots of opinions as to what products are the best, but ultimately it comes down to budget and personal preferences. Initial assessment and preparation of the paint and proper application of chosen products are equally as important as the quality of the products themselves.

So assuming you read my last article and got the basics of cleaning down, the next step is assessment of the paint. This is where you ask yourself a series of questions regarding the overall condition of the paint to decide what the following steps should be. Depending on the age of the paint, it may be single stage or have a clear coat. Older, vintage cars from the 80’s and earlier tended to have a single stage paint, however many of them have been repainted at some point over the years. Most paint shops no longer use single stage paint as environmental regulations have tightened and technology has improved, so chances are your car has a clear coat on it. If your car was manufactured in the 90’s or afterwards there is an excellent chance of it having a clear coat. If you are not sure, most body or paint shops could easily tell you with just a glance, free of charge.

This clear coat is your first line of protection for the color coat, so it is important to treat it with care when polishing. I always recommend leaving the buffer or polishing wheel to the pros. Getting the steps of a professional paint detail or polish correct can be very tricky. It is easy to burn or damage the paint when using a machine. If the step down process of compound polishing is rushed the paint can also be easily damaged, leaving swirl marks or even worse, light spots.

The idea behind polishing is to remove a very minute amount of clear coat to even out its appearance to the naked eye. If you were to view your paint under a microscope, you could see how rough the paint becomes with scratches and pitting from road debris (dust & dirt) and from even the washing process. Imagine a microscopic mountain range, the roughness making the paint appear a bit dull. By lightly polishing, you can even out some of the tiny peaks and valleys of the paint creating a more uniform surface to reflect the light and create a nice shine. To do this, in most cases a very light, fine grain polishing compound is all that is needed. I recommend what is called a “hand glaze” which is the lightest or finest grain compound available. Apply the hand glaze to a dampened microfiber cloth and apply lightly and evenly to a 2 foot by 2 foot area. If this is your first time, it is recommended that you choose an inconspicuous place to start in case anything goes awry. Also, we recommend a spray bottle full of water to be used in conjunction with the hand glazing, misting the polishing surface regularly to keep the polishing process slow and even. Rub the glazing compound over the paint in straight line motions and avoid over doing it. You can always go back to a section and polish more if you feel it is needed, however once you over do it, there are no take-backs! So please be careful, and follow the product instructions strictly. A very light polish on your average sized BMW sedan could take an hour or two, and can be tiring to say the least. A more thorough polish could be done in stages over several days, amounting to ten hours or more, so plan accordingly. Generally, after polishing the car should be thoroughly washed with a carnauba car wash soap again to remove any excess compound in seams and on the painted surface. After that, the car should be dried with a shammy or squeegee.

Once dried, the paint should be sealed with an acrylic sealer. Sealer is typically used to fill in some of the heavier scratches in the paint and provide a layer of protection that can last as much as two to three months, depending on how often the car is washed and environmental conditions.  Think of it as a second protective clear coat. Sealers are applied to the paint with a clean microfiber cloth. A light coating should be rubbed onto the paint uniformly; again using straight line passes and light to moderate pressure. Make sure you follow the specific directions that come with the sealer. For best results, allowing the sealer to cure, often overnight before applying any wax is necessary.

After having let the sealer set is the opportune time to apply a carnauba based wax. Following the manufacturer’s directions for whatever brand wax you choose, apply the wax with an applicator or microfiber cloth. After allowing the wax to set (usually from five minutes to an hour), buff the waxed surfaces by hand. This removes the excess wax and the friction from rubbing melts the wax ever so slightly to fill in any scratches and even out the clear coat as much as possible, creating the desired luster and shine. In some cases, and often for best results, several layers of wax can be applied.

Depending on usage and conditions, carnauba wax usually will last for up to two weeks before having to be reapplied. The car can and should be washed regularly without having to apply sealer again for some time, however wax will only last a wash or two sometimes. Keep in mind, the paint should be lightly washed any time before waxing to make sure any contaminants are expelled and not rubbed deeper into the paint.

This process can be painstakingly time consuming but is often well worth the effort. Elbow grease or sweat equity can go a long way with polishing, sealing and waxing. Spending a little extra time and effort in these steps can make a significant difference in the end results.

What would you like to read about in my next article? I greatly appreciate your questions, input and feedback. I can be easily reached at BavarianRocketScience@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and happy motoring!

Saturday April 26th, 2014 CHARITY EVENT & OPEN HOUSE

Bavarian Rocket Science will be hosting our friends, clients, regional car clubs and local automotive enthusiasts for a beautiful Spring Open House and Fundraiser to benefit the Regional Food Bank of North Eastern New York on SATURDAY APRIL 26, 2014 from 10am - 3pm. Donations can be made for services including: Car Washes and Mini-Details, Vehicle Safety Checks, Oil, Fluids and Tire Pressure Checks, OBD2 & Check Engine Light Diagnostics and lunch from the grill with all proceeds going to charity. All are welcome, however an RSVP by April 23rd is greatly appreciated.  Please contact Tom Dobush with questions or to make a reservation at BavarianRocketScience@gmail.com or 518-598-1274