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BMW 5 Series, Sedan
#5475 of 12737 Winter tires, again...
Feb 03, 2003 (12:59 pm)
This (long) post is sort of a catch-up post, prompted in no small part by our 5-Series friend and compatriot DaBimmer, who just sent me an E-Mail suggesting (very tactfully I might add) that I get off my butt and rejoin the discussions here in the TownHall. Thanks Tony for the kick in the hind quarters.
For starters, I am NOT currently driving a BMW, I have instead graduated to a 1998 Green Dodge Caravan Sport (albeit with the 3.8L mill) for my motive pleasure. More on this shocking development later. With that said, I am feeling the need to post some thoughts that are somewhat contrary to many of my earlier posts of the last couple of winters. As some of y’all might remember, I had posted fairly frequently that I felt the recommendations made by many of our peers for winter tires were, at best, over-rated. Well, I am now going to (at least in part) contradict myself.
As a point of reference, I graduated from a 1999 328i 5-Speed, PP, Xenon, Harman-Kardon, CD and Metallic Paint to a Sapphire Black/Black Leather, 2002 530i 5-Speed, PP, SP, Premium Audio and Xenon via a wonderful ED trip last April. Shortly after taking delivery of my 530i last May, my wife and I engineered a transfer to the Boston area, and we bought a house in southern New Hampshire. Needless to say, this has been an interesting winter.
Our first snow came on 23-Oct-2002, and even though it was only about two inches, I was hard pressed to get up my driveway! Throughout November we had a few more dustings and driving up my driveway sideways became the norm, not to mention “white knuckling it” while driving along at only 5MPH or so. So, I caved in, and ordered a wheel/tire package from TireRack.com that consisted of four Michelin Arctic-Alpin tires (225/55QR-16) mounted on four Borbet Type H (16x7.5) wheels, total price including shipping $1,007.11. My first chance to use them came on Christmas day, during what turned out to be an eighteen inch snow fall. My first indication that there was something special about these tires was (of course) going up the driveway. Even with over 4” already on the ground, I went right up with without so much as a single flash from the traction control light on the dash! Once on the road (not yet plowed, very rutted and a little slushy as well), I found myself passing cars that were failing in their attempt to climb the various hills around here, and driving right past MANY other vehicles off in the ditch, including TWO police cars! Within a couple of miles I reeled in a conga-line of 4WD vehicles where I made up the caboose. All of this was on a very hilly/winding/heavily crowned two-lane road, and the SUVs and other sundry 4WD vehicles in front of me were having a much more difficult time that I was. Go figure!
Since Christmas, we have had just over four feet of snow which consisted of two eighteen inchers, along with various dustings, ice/freezing rain, and general dumpings, through it all, my 530i (the one that I am no longer driving) has yet to put a paw in the wrong spot. All in all, that is quite amazing for a car that couldn’t get out of its own way (literally) prior to mounting the Arctic-Alpins.
As for dry/wet road characteristics, the Arctic-Alpins perform very much the same as did the Michelin MXV4-Plus tires that I had on my 328i. That is to say, quiet, reasonably competent grip and comfortable at highway speeds. Please note if you feel the need to drive over 100 MPH, then you will need to spend an extra $23.00 per tire and get the Michelin Pilot Alpin tires, which carry an “H” rating.
So, to all of those who have been carrying the “Winter Tire” banner all along, please accept my sincere apology, I am sorry I ever doubted you. For those of you who are still braving slippery roads on summer rubber, or for that matter on all-season rubber, you will be genuinely amazed by the grip afforded by winter tires. In a word, the feeling is “Uncanny”.
As for why I am currently driving one of the most ubiquitous, boring and utilitarian of all vehicles instead of one of the best looking and best performing sedans in the world, stay tuned for my next post, which is coming soon.
#5476 of 12737 Grand Caravan 3.8 vs. 530i... (long post)
Feb 03, 2003 (1:46 pm)
Given that I am by nature a story teller, I find myself being compelled to weave the tail as to why I am no longer counted among the ranks of BMW drivers.
Almost four weeks ago, 9-Jan to be exact, I pulled up in front of my children’s day-care at about 5:30 PM to pick them up and take them to a long promised dinner at Taco Bell. During the day, we had temperatures around here that were just above freezing, and in fact, it was still just above 32 when I arrived.
I got out of my car, walked to the covered sidewalk (just in front of my car) and stepped into what I thought was a shallow puddle of water (it was actually a VERY shallow puddle, over a VERY thin layer of ice). As soon as I planted my left (leading) foot in the puddle, it shot forward with such alarming speed that I was caught completely by surprise, I knew that a fall was imminent. Due to the speed with which said left leg shot forward my body decided to come with it, much to the chagrin of my right leg and foot which were still ten inches lower, down in the parking lot. As I went forward, the toes of my right foot hit the curb, hyper extended the foot at the ankle, and snapped the Fibula like a twig. I heard it snap, and on the way down, I thought to myself “Yup, it’s broke”.
Once on the ground (lying in the puddle), I confirmed that I was, at the very least, badly injured, so, contrary to my nature, I actually called out for help. The only response I got was from a lady about twenty yards up the walk, who looked over/down at me and said, “Are you OK?” Even then the stupidity of the question struck me, however, given that I was going into shock, I wasn’t able to properly communicate the severity of the situation to her, so I said, “No lady I’m not, I just fell and broke my leg and I am going into shock!” What didn’t occur to me at the time was that telling someone that you are going into shock means very little, unless they have had some medical training, or of course, been in shock themselves.
She just got a sort of stupid look on her face, so, given that I was laying in a puddle of water with a temperature somewhere south of 33 degrees, I figured that I had better deal with the situation myself. I rolled out of the puddle and tried to get up. As soon as she saw me do this, she ran down to me saying, “Are you crazy? Don’t try to get up, just stay there!” With that, she proceeded to try and hold me down!
In my ever evaporating consciousness all I could say was, “Lady, I am going into shock, and I need to get inside the daycare and onto their sofa.” What I should of said was that I was about to pass out, and I didn’t want to do it while laying in a puddle of frigid water.
Fortunately, some guy happened by and quickly assessed the problem and told her in no uncertain terms, “Help me get him up and inside, NOW!”
She did, and as I hobbled into the daycare, one of my kids asked me “Daddy, are you all right?”
I managed to say, “No, I think I broke my leg…”, just as my butt hit the sofa, and I passed out cold. While I was out, the teacher (all of 21 years old), had the presence of mind to send all of the children to another class room, call 911, and then call my wife. Smart kid!
When I came around, I had literally no idea of who I was, where I was, or how I got there. All I knew was there was a guy holding me down and I wanted to hit him. He said, “Calm down, you are at your children’s day-care, and you fell and broke your leg.” Something he said must have struck a chord, because I stopped struggling and tried to make sense of the bizarre place in which I found myself. I suspect that it took at least 30 to 45 seconds to re-boot my brain and start to put the threads together into what might be called lucid thought.
Almost immediately after I came around, I saw the ambulance come into the lot, and I was off to the hospital. Due to all of the ice, there were several ambulances at the hospital, no beds available, and a log jam of gurneys in the hallway with folks who had fallen or been otherwise injured by the slippery conditions. The lady next to me was found by her husband when he got home from work laying on the sidewalk in front of their house, out cold. She came around while next to me, and I could really sympathize with the disorientation she experienced, at least I woke up in the same location where I passed out.
Given all of the broken bones and such, the hospital had already called in an Orthopedic Sturgeon [sic], who, when he evaluated me suggested that they pump me full of morphine for four or five days to let the swelling go down and then he would open me up and screw my lower right fibula back together and to re-locate my right foot (which was about a quarter of an inch too far to the left). I told him that I would prefer either no surgery at all or surgery ASAP, as in that night, if possible, because I was scheduled to fly to Taipei four days later. He told me that an non-surgical solution would be problematic (at best) and that, while he might be able to operate on me later that night if we could reduce the swelling enough, I sure as hell wasn’t going on any airplanes anytime soon regardless of when he performed the surgery. So, I took my morphine (via the IV, which burned my arm, made me want to puke and didn’t kill any pain, not even a little) like a good little boy and shut my big mouth. Just after midnight, after practically freezing my foot and leg to get the swelling down, he decided that he could in fact operate. Success, I was up and around on crutches about eight hours later.
When the Sturgeon made his rounds later in the day, I asked him again if I could go on my trip. His response was predictable, “Not a chance.”
So, I asked him, “Why not? Is there a medical reason?”
That is when he finally came clean and told me that there was a danger of blood clotting (he called it a “Pulmonary Hematoma”) with such a lower extremity injury being combined with the twenty plus hours of sitting in one spot in an airplane. That said, simply taking two aspirin a day and making sure I moved my leg/foot around as much as possible, should partially, if not completely eliminate the risk. Done, I was going.
The trip came off without a hitch (well, it was a little uncomfortable) , and on 23-Jan, I went back the see my Sturgeon for more X-Rays and a new cast. The good news was that the bone was healing well, however (the bad news) was that due to all of the ligament damage to the foot, I was going to be in a non-weight bearing cast until AT LEAST 20-Feb! Assuming all goes well, I will then transition to a walking cast for another four to six weeks, and then on to therapy and walking with a cane for another couple of months after that. The earliest that I can reasonably expect to drive a car with three pedals is sometime between Late May and mid June!
#5477 of 12737 Continuation...
Feb 03, 2003 (1:52 pm)
Long story short, my wife has the 530i for the duration, and I am stuck driving the Caravan, left footed with my purple casted right leg over in the passengers’ foot well. ;-( Since I started driving a stick shift car back in 1977, this will be my longest stretch of driving an automatic; I hope I still remember how to stir my own gears when the time comes.
#5478 of 12737 Shipo......
Feb 03, 2003 (1:57 pm)
I truly wish you a speedy recovery. I am no BMW driver, but I do enjoy your posts. I do have a Dodge GCSport though.
#5479 of 12737 Shipo!
Feb 03, 2003 (3:15 pm)
I was just wondering the other day where had you gotten to.
I'm so sorry about your accident. Another one of those split seconds in life that we'd love to have a way to get back and do over, huh?
It's good to hear from you. Indeed, you are QUITE the story-teller.
Take care - hope you are back in the saddle of your 530i very soon. And don't be a stranger.
#5480 of 12737 Sel3, VCheng & Pat
Feb 03, 2003 (3:58 pm)
A year and a half ago, I swapped my 328i 3-Series.Brave1Heart's 325i for a day, and had the same rear-view mirror dimming problem. It turns out that on the 325i (and I suspect on the 525i as well) that if you twist the "Clown Nose", the mirror will tilt into night mode.
Thanks, and thanks again.
I like the GC Sport, I really do, and when compared to other vehicles of its ilk, I like it even better. That said, even though it can easily outperform some of the sedans with "Sporty Intentions" that I have had in the past (thinking of my 1980 Audi 4000 5-Speed with the A/C on full blast), it is a far cry from my 530i.
Do yourself a favor sometime, treat yourself to a test drive.
You can say that again, WOW would I LOVE a "Do Over!"
Thanks, and thanks again. My biggest concern about getting back in the saddle too soon is how well my right foot/leg will deal with a hard/fast stab at the brake pedal, should the need arise. Hopefully the Physical Therapy will allow me to progress fast.
As for story telling, I come by that honestly, you wouldn't believe some of the whoppers that my Father tells, I sure don't!
#5481 of 12737 To Shipo...
Feb 03, 2003 (4:35 pm)
I wander all over these boards, and amongst numerous nutcases (like me) are found true gems like you!
Perhaps we should talk more about the GCSport over the Vans boards. That place has been dead for a long time now.
I did drive a CPO 540i6speed, and boy was it a hoot! I was seriously considering a new 530i with Sport Package and manual transmission.
If you don't think bad of me, I'll tell you I ended up with a 2003 LS430.
Perhaps the next one......(I checked your profile, and I hear you about being married with kids!)
#5482 of 12737 Shipo's return
Feb 03, 2003 (4:39 pm)
Man oh man. What a surprise to hear what has been happening to you. We haven't heard on these posts what had happened to you since about the time you moved to Windham.Never in a million years would I have been able to imagine what was going on.Sorry to hear about the fibula break and especially the ankle and foot problem, the trigger finger, so to speak when clutching and braking.Welcome Back, missed your info, insight and otherwise informative posts.Get well so you can enjoy your black/black 530 I.
Feb 03, 2003 (6:18 pm)
Glad you're back and okay....really missed reading your posts. Wishing you a speedy recovery and to be back in the saddle of your Bimmer again soon.
#5484 of 12737 VCheng, DaBimmer &CarNaught
Feb 03, 2003 (7:30 pm)
Wow, talk about two different cars, from a 540i 6-Speed to an LS430. I would love to know how the score sheet went on that one.
Yeah, being married with children sort of puts a cramp in the extra-curricular activity list. Makes you realize just where your priorities are.
Thanks again my friend for the gentle nudge to post again. Thanks also for your thoughts, I am going to be a good little boy and do all my doctors and therapists tell me to do. Only time will tell how long before I am able to REALLY drive again.
Thanks for the kind words, in the mean time, I will try and keep up with this board so that if a post or a thread triggers a memory of another story, I will be sure to relate it.