Friday, May 6, 2016

Car Seat and Child Defenses

We used a few products to help make the car more functional (and more protected from) for our 2-year-old daughter.  In addition to using a car seat protector, I modified a black bath sheet to also go under the car seat protector between it and the leather of the back seat.  Since we have a black interior, a black sheet was the obvious choice.  I folded it in half, sewed it together with a quilt-like pattern, and modified to slip over the headrest.  The car seat protector goes on top of it.

We also bought the BMW Seat Back Organizer, which had to come from Germany.  It's a quality piece.  Much nicer than the $20 equivalents sold on Amazon.  We like it because it clips under the seat bottom, instead o wrapping around the front seat like a belt.  Also bought a seat back "kick matt" to prevent scuffing on the other seat.

Kick mat on the left, BMW Seat Back Organizer on the right

Black bath mat, then car seat protector, then the car seat.

40"x80" Turkish Spa Large Bath Sheet, Luxury, Eco-friendly 650 Grams (Black, 40" x 80"), Amazon, $32.99

ROYAL OXFORD Luxury Car Seat Protector - Extreme Heavy Duty, Obsidian Black Leather - Bebe by Me International, Amazon, $26.97

Total cost of this mod = $201.93

Total investment in vehicle to date = $1064.36r

Homelink Universal Garage Door Opener (UGDO) Programming

With our Liftmaster garage doors, we had a lot of difficulty programming the UGDO in our X5.  Rachel eventually figured it out after she watched this video explaining how to do it.  Works great now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Floor Mats and Cargo Box

The F15 X5 comes with carpet floor mats.  Great.  This car is going to work for a living so we upgraded ours to rubber Floor Liners.  For the passenger floors in the first, second, and third row, we went for BMW's Floor Liners, which are actually a re-branded WeatherTech product.  We have owned WeatherTech products before and we like them.  They are made in the US and they fit and work great.  The mats we chose should not be confused with the BMW All-Weather mats which are a different product.  The All-Weather mats are very heavy and styled, but they don't have the exact-fit or high side walls of the floor liners.  They do look nice though.

For the cargo area, we did not go with BMW/WeatherTech, but instead with the Taiwanese MaxPider floor liner.  The MaxPider cargo mat is nice because it is made to accommodate the folding 3rd row seat: it has a crease built-in.  Time will tell if it works as well as the WeatherTech stuff.  But, on the surface and for first impressions, sadly, it is a better product than the BMW/WeatherTech.  The entire back surface is covered in loop-like velcro.  The material feels more expensive, slightly softer than WeatherTech, and the look is more modern and fitting of the X5.  And, at least for the front row, the MaxPider mat for the driver's side covers the whole dead pedal, not just half of it like the BMW/WeatherTech one.  I think if we did it again, we would buy all MaxPider mats instead.

In the cargo area, when you have only a few items, they can roll around and create a mess.  To help prevent this, or at least contain it, we bought BMW's folding cargo box.  This is nice because you can keep it with you all the time, folded flat, and only use it when you need it.

The Grocery Gripper was a long-shot.  It is not designed for the F15 X5 but I had seen them before and liked them.  Tricky to find a spot where it can fit when you have the 3rd row option.  It's nice for holding several thin plastic grocery bags or other lighter-weight items that you want to hang.  I haven't found a good spot for the F15 yet but will keep looking.

Front floor Mat Set, BMW 82112285514, $115.00r

2nd Row Floor Mat, BMW 82112285517, $95.00r

3rd Row Floor Mat, BMW 82112285519, $85.00r

MaxPider Cargo Liner, M1BM0551309, $109.60r

Folding Cargo Box, BMW 51472303796, $46.00r

Grocery Gripper, BMW 82110306544, $24.95

Total Cost of this mod = $475.55r

Total Investment in Vehicle to Date = $862.43

Grocery gripper shown in box on the left.  See other articles for the oil baggie and the LED torch flashlight.

Gratuitous third row shot

Not wild about the fit of the driver's mat on the dead pedal

The made-in-Taiwan mat was actually really, really nice.

Plug-in Torch, Ashtray Delete, Key Protector

We aren't sold on the key cover, so we just bought one for one of the keys and we'll try it.  It does make the key bigger, but it also perfectly protects it.  The plug-in torch is a neat gimmick, supposedly constantly charging while it is plugged into a cigarette lighter.  We put ours into the cargo area, plugged it in, and left it.  Oil baggie and 1 liter of LL-04 BMW diesel oil got stored under the cargo deck.  Front ashtray delete is nice because it's soft rubber, better than the stock hard plastic ashtray when it comes to storing change that rattles.

Plug-in Torch, BMW 63310432670, $30.00r

Oil Baggie, BMW 83292158848, $5.79r 

1 L Motor Oil BMW Long Life 04 Diesel 5W-30, BMW 83212365949, $7.99r

Dual USB Charger, BMW 65412311598, $40.00r

Black leather key case, BMW 82292344033, $39.00r

Front Ashtray Delete Panel, BMW 51169267952, $9.32r

Total Cost of this mod = $132.10r

Total Investment in Vehicle to Date = $386.88

Various phone charging cords in various lengths (Amazon), a small USB hub (Amazon) for the center console, BMW's own dual USB charger, the fancy Comfort Access leather key cover (pretty big, jury still out) and thew ashtray delete panel.

LED torch flashlight, oil baggie, and 1 liter of BMW diesel oil.

First Mods: First Aid Kit and Roadside Tools

Out of habit with our other cars, we like to keep European-issued warning triangles and first aid kits with all of our cars.  To get original BMW parts however, is not easy.  ECS Tuning usually can get first aid kits.  Some of the other parts had to come from ebay.  Other supplementals are from Amazon.  The actual BMW European first aid kit is great, but it is designed for pretty serious accidents.  It doesn't come with simple Band Aids or little things, so we add those to supplement.

We keep in our car:

European First Aid Kit, ECS Tuning, BMW 71107263439, $39.95r

Warning Vest Set, ebay, BMW 82262288693, $16.00r

Warning Triangle, ebay, BMW 71606770487, $49.95r

Maglite Mini PRO+ LED 2-Cell AA Flashlight with Holster, Black, $24.98r

Leatherman Wave multitool,, $69.00r

Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter [31-000699], $8.62r

SE EB122OR Emergency Sleeping Bag with Drawstring Carrying Bag, Orange, $11.38r

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, $19.95r

LifeHammer The Original Emergency Hammer (Orange), $14.95r

Total Cost of this mod = $254.78

Total Investment in Vehicle to Date = $254.78

These items are kept in the glovebox

BMW warning vests, kept in left rear compartment with the first aid kit and warning triangle

Factory Euro first aid kit, with supplemental everyday band aids

We live in hurricane country so we do carry more survival gear than most people.  Emergency sleeping bag (1), firestarter, snap lights, and a Water Straw for drinking water.  Kept in left rear compartment inside a single small ditty bag.

Euro warning triangle.

Triangle installed
Slot in foam made for triangle