Reggie's Motorworks

Owning a BMW X5


Constant Change to Maintain a Static Goal

Happy Fall!  After a (hopefully!) final push of sizzling summer weather, we're finally experiencing cool, crisp fall weather here in the Midwest!  This past Sunday, we ventured to Monument Circle in the heart of downtown Indianapolis for Wunderbar Together.  Members of  Hoosier BMW and SILO Auto Club and Conservancy brought some classic German cars for this fantastic event celebrating German-American friendship.  We'll share the whole gallery of images on our Facebook page, so be sure to check those out too!

It was a lovely day for a car show!  Here are some favorites from the day!  There was a cool variety of automobiles on display.  VW, Porsche, Audi, and, of course, BMW were the primary marques present.  Other events of the day and weekend included a parade, live music, discussion panels, German cultural exhibits, and more.  All events were free and open to the public.  

Noblesville schools are on fall break this week and next, so we are taking the boys on a fall camping trip for a few days in Brown County! We're excited for the cooler temps and hope to do some hiking in the Hills O'Brown to see some fall color!  What are you up to this fall?  What kind of fall activities do you most enjoy?  Leave us a comment! We'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

Wow, has it been four weeks already? What did you think about Stephanie’s view of Auburn? That event never disappoints, but there is a slightly bittersweet feeling at the end, as it marks the end of summer.

The end of summer isn’t so bad though, as it also means an end (sooner or later) to the heat and humidity we’ve had this summer….and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! I am sure hoping for a good dose of mild fall weather before winter comes. 

Here are the things that are on my mind, both business and car-related:

First, we are making a couple of major changes at the shop! We are rebuilding our website and upgrading to a newer software system to manage all of our work. In the short-term, these changes may be a bit stressful for us at the shop, as we are in effect, learning a new language. The long-term goal is to be more efficient with our time, so we can take even better care of you and your car.

The new website will not be vastly different than our current site, just refined. You should see this launch in the next couple of weeks. In preparation, Stephanie has taken new photos of all of us at the shop. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Our new shop management system was developed by a shop owner in California and has recently been endorsed by Bosch. It will allow us to be even more transparent in our workflow and keep our clients informed with updates throughout the entire service or repair process.

Right now, Nick Howard is working hard to get this system implemented and to get Nick Sartor trained and up and running. We are hoping to see this change take effect next week.

What am I working on? I’m glad you asked!

Well, in recent times I have been investing in old heavy equipment. I recently picked up a 1948 Bridgeport vertical mill and a 1913 South Bend metal lathe. These machines won’t likely play a major role in our day-to-day repair and maintenance at Reggie's Motorworks, but they will allow us to build the occasional special tool or fabricate odds and ends for our vintage BMW modifications. If nothing else, they keep my mind and hands occupied and further sustain my hobby/business relationship:).

A more relevant project is my 1984 BMW 318i Baur TC.  Well, it will no longer be a 318i. It will now be a 325i, as it is getting an engine transplant. When I removed the original engine from “Project Varmit” (#projectvarmit), I saved the stock M20 and had it rebuilt with the plan to pass it down to the Baur. Over the past year or so I have been slowly preparing for this swap. First I reassembled the engine with fresh hardware and accessories. I also had the valve cover and intake manifold powder coated in a dark bronze color that is similar to the “zobelbraun-metallic” paint on the car.

The scope of this simple engine swap has increased vastly over the last several months. I knew there was some rust in the driver’s side floor pan, so we pulled the carpet. We ended up replacing both front floor sections and a section of the passenger rear floor. This was a great learning experience for Brandon, who has been growing into a great asset back in our fabrication area. No one makes replacement floor pans for e30's, not even BMW, so here is a shot of Brandon fabricating a pan from scratch, which will look like and have the same structural rigidity as the factory floor. 

       

After removing the engine, and completing the metal work in the floors, I sent the car out to have the engine bay painted with a fresh coat of zobelbraun-metallic. The car is now done and ready to come back to RMW!

Back at the shop, I have been getting prepared for reassembly. As you can see from the photo below, she’s getting lots of new parts. At the same time, the car will be getting a later e30 fuel tank with a bit more capacity, brand new carpet from BMW, and freshly restored and reupholstered seats.

Stephanie and I see our Baur TC as a “forever car”, so I am not cutting any corners in my efforts to make the interior beautiful and the engine reliable.

Another car that I have invested a lot of time and money into is this 1989 BMW 325ix. Over the past year, this car has received an enormous amount of maintenance, while also working out several of the little “bugs” that make owning an old car frustrating. This is not one we plan to keep forever, so if you are interested, please reach out! Here is a link to several more photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/EAramXydwYUHkgqk9

I will be writing again in October and hope to have lots of pictorial updates on the Baur project! Stay tuned!

– Reggie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy September!  We're in one of my favorite times of the year!  I love the transition between summer and fall!  And it means that we're cruising around Auburn to check out all of the cars in the auction and car corrals for sale!  The weather was great for our weekend trip this year, and the boys had fun riding around on the golf cart!  The sky was filled with picture perfect fluffy white clouds, and I put them in the background of as many photos as I could!  I'll be sharing a few here on the blog today, and I'll put the whole gallery on the Reggie's Motorworks Facebook pageClick here to be directed to the Gallery!

 

This was one of my personal favorites that was up for auction!

 

Both Remington and Emerson wanted to go for a spin in this little automobile!  

There were so many great cars to see and to photograph!  Be sure to check out our Facebook page for the whole gallery!  

This weekend we're hosting Remington's 6th birthday party with family and friends!  I'm crossing my fingers for good weather so that we can play outside!  Happy Birthday, Remington!!!  We love you!

What are your weekend plans?  Let us know in the comments!  

Welcome back to our bi-weekly blog! Reggie here, still buzzing from that event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What a great time with the great people from MORPCA and of course our local PCA and Hoosier BMW!

Before we get into today's post, please note that we will be closed on Monday, September 3rd, in observance of Labor Day. 

Fun Fact: We pulled these photos from the archives of Reggie's phone, circa 2014, Auburn! 

This week, I’m going to get a little weird. I’m going to blog about blogging. Wait, what!? What is blogging in the first place? And, why do you blog?

But first, I need to know who is reading this. PLEASE do me a favor and comment either below, or on the social media channel that brought you here, with one of the following:

1. First Time Reader

2. Current Client

3. Fan

4. Friend/Family Member

This would mean a great deal to us, and to help break down the science of blogging!

I can’t speak to the true history of blogging, but my understanding is that “blog” is short for “web log”, which basically started off as a way for people to journal on the internet. I would assume it was more about self-expression in the beginning, and has since evolved into educating and even marketing. That’s right, sometimes we write blogs solely to get in front of your eyes so you either look at ads on our site or spend money at our business (GASP!).

So why am I writing a blog right now? Truthfully, I do it on a schedule because it is good for Reggie’s Motorworks. Beyond that though, I enjoy sharing some of my interests and thoughts to a group of people who may be like-minded. Sometimes I like to educate folks on some of the inner-workings of auto repair and share some “behind the scenes” looks into our industry. Today, I happen to be dissecting the very blog you are reading!

For these next few paragraphs I am going to focus on how blogging can be a marketing tool for a business like mine. At Reggie’s Motorworks, we work on BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Audi, Mini, and Porsche automobiles.

See there, now if you Google one of the above terms, there is a slight chance you might stumble upon this blog, read it, fall in love, and come spend money at my business!!

Seriously, we want more than your money. We are a relationship-based shop, and we care deeply about our clients and their cars. I am just trying to illustrate the point (while also getting some great keywords in!).

I will need to go a bit further to really make this blog perform. I need to talk more about what we do. We repair and service cars. We diagnose check engine lights. Our mechanics perform oil changes (We don’t do “quick-lube” style oil changes, but you might Google “oil change” and I want you to find us! ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

By the way, in our industry, “mechanic” is sometimes looked at as semi-derogatory. In today’s shop, the guy or gal working on your car is far more than a grease monkey. Today, we prefer the term technician, as we are very technical and highly trained. I use the word “mechanic” in my blog because we know that the general public will search for a “mechanic” in their favorite search engine.

See how this blogging for the purpose of marketing works? It’s borderline manipulative, isn't it?

By the way, we also replace brakes, fuel pumps, water pumps, windshield wipers, transmissions, timing belts, timing chains, alternators, tires, and perform alignments.

Now I am going to talk about cheeseburgers, thick juicy steaks, and refreshing cold beverages to see if we can grab a couple of random Googlers looking for a great restaurant. Is this getting too silly?

Let’s move on to a more fun part of blogging, self-expression.

This weekend, Stephanie, the boys and I are traveling up to Auburn, Indiana for the annual automotive extravaganza which includes a huge auction, car corral, and swap meet put on by RM Southeby’s at the Auburn Auction Park. This is one of two events going on this weekend. The other is the ACD (Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg) Festival, which celebrates the amazing cars that were built in this area prior to WWII.

I have been traveling to this event for 30 years now (since 6th grade). At this point it would be hard to stop going. It's just part of who I am, and I’m glad the rest of the family enjoys it as much as I do. I may be seen as a “BMW guy” since I built RMW working on BMW’s and, let’s face it, they tend to gravitate toward me. Truthfully, I am a non-denominational “car guy”.  I like Classics, Hot Rods, Customs (AKA Kustoms), Rat Rods, Low Riders, Muscle Cars, Trucks, etc. (Take those key words to the bank, Google!).

This whole theme is why Reggie’s Motorworks exists, and now it's why I blog. Sure, I want you to come see my crew when the electric water pump on your BMW e90 335i or e60 535i fails (don’t worry, they all fail) or when your Porsche 996 needs an IMS bearing upgrade and clutch replaced (preventatively, I hope). The bottom line is that these things need to be done whether RMW exists or not, but we are car people, and we take care of people who happen to drive German cars. If you found us because you were looking for someone to take care of your Mercedes-Benz, then great! We can do that. Nice to meet you! If you just want to go look at some automotive awesomeness, then we’ll see you at Auburn. If you’re looking for a cheeseburger, well, sorry about that. I happen to like BRU Burger here in Noblesville, for whatever that’s worth.

 

I’m not yet sure what Stephanie will write about in 2 weeks, but maybe if we get enough comments we can talk her into taking photos at Auburn!! Remember to check out her blog at www.stewartimagery.com!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Happy Friday!  It's mid-August, and the school year has started here in Noblesville!  Our son, Remington, is now a proud and excited kindergartener!  He has loved riding the school bus, playing with friends, and learning so many new things in these first 13 days of the year!  And his little brother, Emerson, has just started attending preschool a few days a week!  We're still in summer mode, however, with the warm days and sunshine!  And this past weekend, we traveled to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch Reggie, Nick, Nick, Sean, and some more friends drive with the MORPCA for much-anticipated time on the famous track!  The weather couldn't have been any nicer for a late summer event!  The boys loved cheering as loudly as possible for their daddy….they were certain Reggie could hear them over all the engine noise!  ๐Ÿ˜‰  Check out last year's blog here

 

One reminder before we get to the photos!  Mark your calendars for Artomobilia on Saturday, August 26th in the Arts & Design District of downtown Carmel!  Click here for all of the details of the event!

Ok, on to the photos!

 

The Varmitt performed quite well this year!

Nick Howard's e30 track car was looking good out there!  The boys and I were cheering for this car too!  It's easy to spot!  

Nick Sartor is a driving instructor and enjoyed time on the track as well when he wasn't coaching!

 

Remington, Emerson, and I found a cool spot atop a grassy hill to watch all of the cars fly past us.  I will be the first to admit, I am not a motorsport racing photographer!  It is a challenge to capture these fast cars speeding by at over 100mph!  We did get to meet the event's official photographer, who showed us some of his work from last year….amazing!  And of course, he has access to some pretty awesome locations to get those epic shots that you might expect when driving at IMS!  

There goes Chris!!!

 

For whatever reason, I photographed several red cars!  

 

 

We were watching in a passing zone and got to see Reggie point over the top of the Varmitt, indicating that the person behind him could pass.  

That's a wrap for this week!  Thank you for joining us here on the blog!  Have a great weekend!

Reggie here, taking my turn on the blog. For once, I'm not going to write about business or economics, although my topic is still car related. At my core, I have a passion for cars that have been built by hand. These could be cars that are "rebuilt" or restored to factory specifications, cars that have been heavily customized or even built from scratch. 

Last week I had the opportunity of a lifetime! Not only did I get to meet, but also learn from one of my automotive heroes, Gene Winfield.  This guy is so incredibly inspiring! He’s currently 91 years old, and travels the world teaching metalworking techniques, while also running a shop in California that builds custom cars. Going forward, when I feel like I am tired or overworked, I’ll just think of Gene…Wow!

Where did I have to travel for such an experience? Elwood, Indiana of all places! There is an awesome Hot Rod shop in Elwood called Old Tin Rods. Ronnie is the owner and is an amazing craftsman. He has been hosting this workshop with Gene for the past three years. I definitely didn't get the "Furthest Traveled" award. That went to a fellow named Vicente, who flew all the way from Brazil (the country….not Brazil, Indiana). It turns out that Vicente is into BMW's and restores them back home. What are the chances!?

If you haven’t heard of Gene Winfield, I’d be willing to bet that you have unknowingly seen his work…and probably a lot of it. He’s not just a hot-rod/custom car builder but has also had his hands in TV and movie props for decades.  He’s the guy that designed and built the shuttlecraft for the original Star Trek series!

To get an idea of the scope of his work, check out his biography here: https://www.winfieldscustomshop.com/about

I don’t know that my writing can even do this guy justice. There is something magical about being in his presence. He is supremely kind and patient, while also being a no-nonsense hard worker. Somehow, he even finds a way to squeeze in some humor.

I was also very happy to be able to bring one of our guys along for the experience. Brandon joined us about a year ago as our “Shop Helper”, which is an incredibly important, yet not-so-glamorous position at RMW. Over the past year, he has worked his way up and has been helping me with both metal work and mechanical work in the back shop. I can’t say enough about how quickly Brandon picks up on anything we give him. I’m very glad to have him on the team and am excited to see where we go in the future!

In the training, we learned several fundamentals about moving and shaping metal, but the first lesson was more about life. Gene’s number one slogan is “Every day is a School Day”. I have believed in this philosophy for a long time; I had never heard it phrased this way. His second favorite slogan? – “I don’t give a shit”…I believe this attitude might be the key to his youthfulness! There is no doubt that stress is a killer. If you can work hard and accomplish whatever you want without worrying all the time, I have to think it would add years to your life.  For me, I care deeply about my family, my team, and my business, but I also know that I’m not in complete control of anything. So, when I’m working on a car and a bolt breaks…I’ll think of Gene’s second slogan, solve the problem and move on.

We learned that sheet metal is shaped by shrinking some areas and stretching others. Gene demonstrated working with hammers, dollies, and various simple hand tools then moved on to the big machines like the English wheel and planishing hammer. We also got to see a power hammer in action, which is a really fast way to move metal. Gene stressed to us that, while the big machines made the work happen faster, all of the same things could be accomplished with hand tools. He even shared some of his special shop-made tools, like a hammer fashioned from an oxygen bottle cap, which he claims to be better than any store-bought shaping hammer. Gene also scours salvage yards looking for interesting shapes that he can use to form metal over. One of our classmates brought an old heavy fire extinguisher that he had cut up to use for shaping. The top was a nice round dome shape, while the bottom had a deep convex dish.

Gene demonstrated “hammer welding” in which you gas weld steel and immediately hammer it while it is red hot to keep it from distorting. This is how he is able to chop a top on a car or section the body without the panels becoming misaligned and warped.

On day two, every student was invited to try gas welding aluminum (which was far from easy) and “leading”, which is how body men filled imperfections prior to the invention of plastic body filler (AKA Bondo).  Applying lead is really a beautiful process. When it melts it spreads like butter. Of course, my attempt was not so graceful, but with some practice, I could see how this could be an enjoyable process.

Throughout the class, we heard stories from all of the various projects that Gene has been involved with over the past 70 years. His real-world experiences are what made the class exceptionally engaging. Through these stories, we were able to dig a little deeper into the engineering that goes on inside his head. Gene told us at the beginning of the class, that he would expect us to retain 40% of what he taught us. I know I walked away with much more than I expected, but am still not sure I retained the full 40%!

So, who would you like to meet and learn from? Who are your heroes? I feel very fortunate to have had this encounter. I sure hope to see Gene back in Indiana again next year!

Reggie

 

 

 

Happy Friday!  It's Stephanie here, thank you so much for joining us on the blog this week!  I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer!  We have had some incredible weather lately!  Reggie, the boys, and I have tried to soak up as much time in the sun and great outdoors as possible, with a second canoe trip on the White River this past weekend!  We leisurely paddled downstream, seeing a few painted turtles, some various water birds, and lots of dragonflies!  Not long after we arrived at home, a downpour ensued, making for a relaxing late afternoon of holding down the couch!  Enough of my rambling, my point is that we've been lucky enough to make the most of these Indiana summer days!  We even had great weather while traveling to Michigan for the 7th Annual Deutsche Marques show, featuring German automobiles.  This event is hosted at the Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo, and it sounds like it continues to grow each year!  There were well over 300 cars in attendance, with 120 BMWs and 86 Porsches!  (I didn't hear the numbers for Mercedes and the other marques.) There are several buildings on the grounds of the museum, and we didn't even get to see them all!  As you scroll through the photos below, you'll see the building that the boys loved! 

We trailered the 1968 BMW 2002 and ended up winning best 1960s BMW!  Remington was so excited when he realized our bimmer had won an award!  I didn't take very many photos at this event since we had the boys with us, however, we do hope to go back next year!  Thank you to Mark Z. for inviting us and for all of the great information about what to do in the area!  (It's blueberry season in Michigan!  They have beautiful sand beaches, trails, museums and more to explore!  We will have to partake in more of the local stuff next time…the boys voted on time at the pool at our hotel! Ha!) It was great to see so many of our fellow Hoosier BMW friends there as well!  Many of us enjoyed a delicious dinner on Saturday evening after the show!  And now for a few photos!

 

There were so many cool old toys to see!  Remington and Emerson (below) would have loved to test drive each and every one!

Roland's lovely M6 won best 1980s BMW!  Congrats, Roland!!!

 

We're excited to share Reggie's drone footage from The Vintage!  We hope you enjoy it!  Please be sure to subscribe to Reggie's Motorworks on YouTube for more videos!

Until next time here on the blog!  Have a great weekend!  

Alright, so I skipped my last turn writing the blog, but wasn't Stephanie's open house recap more important than my ramblings?! She definitely has a better visual presentation than I do! Thank you again to all who attended and made it a record-breaking event!

This time around I want to discuss the idea that maintaining your car may not be very rewarding…

Wait, what? What do you mean it's not rewarding? It keeps my car safe and reliable!

Yes, it absolutely does, but what I find both at RMW, and talking to shop owners around the country, is that not everyone "gets it." Many people (I should figure out a way to calculate the percentage) believe that extended maintenance, over and above a basic oil service, is a waste of money. They'll fix the car when it breaks, and in some cases pay a healthy sum of money to do so. So why not make a small investment now to save a lot later? I have a theory!

Before I go too far down this road, I need to brag a little on both our clients and our staff. Working on German cars, we deal with a very proactive group of people, and both Nick Howard and Nick Sartor work very hard to consult with clients on the "why's" of car maintenance. The fact is though that we could do an even better job of recommending preventative services. Why is this? Well, the cost of an aggressive preventative maintenance plan starts to add up, and many of these services are "thankless."

Here's my theory. When a car breaks, it's obvious. A light will come on, or it may stop on the side of the road. It may make a terrible noise. Heck, it may even catch fire! (very rarely๐Ÿ˜Š). When your car breaks, you are keenly aware of the problem, and it causes you some sort of "pain". You bring the car into a shop; we tell you it will cost $xxxx.xx to repair it, which also hurts. At this point though, the "pain" of writing the check is exceeded by the "pain" of not having your car. Plus, once it is fixed, it drives GREAT again! You get fairly instant gratification for the money you spent.

Auto maintenance, on the other hand, is kind of like buying insurance. Insurance is a piece of paper that tells you that if things go wrong, you'll get money. Auto maintenance is one step lower because there is no promise of a payout…The payout is the fact that you have lowered your chances of a mechanical problem by some undetermined amount. If you don't trust your mechanic, then doing this maintenance is intangible and seems like a waste of money, or possibly even a scam.

When a car is maintained correctly, you rarely feel any improvement when you pick your car up from the shop/dealership. The goal is to keep it like it was when it was new. There are exceptions. Some maintenance items are borderline repairs, like having intake valves cleaned on a Gas Direct Injected engine (AKA Walnut Blasting). More times than not though, services like changing your transmission fluid, or having your brake system flushed, don't make your car run or "feel" any better. When done ahead of time though, they keep the big repair bills at bay. Speaking of transmission fluid changes, I can't tell you how many times we have tried to "fix" an already failing transmission with new fluid…spoiler alert, it NEVER works. 

By the way, the lack of satisfaction one might feel while paying to have these types of services performed is also felt by the technician and even the service professionals up front. Like many of today's mechanics, I started working on cars because I enjoy fixing things. It becomes a strange conflict when we spend our time working on cars with no notable "fix" to be proud of. Changing differential fluid is not nearly as rewarding as changing the actual differential, but it is the best scenario for a car owner. 

We have been discussing this at RMW behind the scenes. We strive to advise our clients on how to best care for their cars, but where should we draw the line? I mean, at what point do the majority of our clients and potential clients "check out"?  I look at it kind of like eating a super healthy diet. Almost everyone can improve their diet or get more exercise, but who wants someone pushing their diet and exercise routine on them? In our world, we can likely make your car run forever with few, if any break-downs, but this level of maintenance can seem very costly. We don't want to be perceived as though we are selling a false product or "nickel and diming" a client to death. We also don't want to do you a disservice by not recommending preventative care. 

It is easy for us to recommend the same services and intervals as the factory, and this is what we do most of the time. It seems that this is the "credible" thing to do. There is a conflict here though, as many of the factory recommended service intervals have been influenced by the politics of big business. As an educated "car guy" that likes my cars to run forever, I can't feel right about today's factory recommendations. I can tell you without question that I maintain my personal fleet to a much higher standard. I may be guilty of over-maintaining my cars, but even with today's expensive synthetic fluids, I can tell you that I will come out ahead. A new transmission or transfer case in an X-drive BMW is costly. It may cost several hundred dollars to service the fluids every 30K miles, but it requires several thousand to replace one of these components. 

Finally, I should state that no matter how well you maintain your car, things will still wear out. Bushings, brakes, ball joints, shocks, struts, gaskets, seals, etc., will all still find the end of their serviceable life after enough miles or years. What we really want to protect are the big ticket items like the engine, transmission, and driveline. That and we want your German car to keep performing as good (or better!) than new, after all this is why we drive these cars!

So, where do you stand on preventative maintenance? Are you proactive, or reactive? Do you plan to keep your car for 10-15 years, or do you like to get something new every 5-6 years?

Please comment below to keep this conversation going!

Speaking of keeping a car on the road for the long haul, we are headed to the Gilmore Auto Museum near Kalamazoo, MI with Ralph, our 1968 BMW 2002 to check out the 7th Annual Deutsche Marques German Auto Event!