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Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Chedeng" The Coffee Table Book

Sometimes things gets done faster when starting off with fewer heads. There's just too much ideas but lack the appropriate actions. Too much talk but that's just about it. More than a year ago, the idea of a coffee table for book Mercedes-Benz in the Philippines just popped up off my head out while I was observing the beauty of the marque cruising one of the street of Metro Manila. This idea was never kept a secret in order to get important inputs from different Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts specially those who owns and drives them in the Philippines. For quite some time, it stayed as it is, an idea.

Enter 2009, my first resolution was to get a draft printed. Second, not to post/share anything about whatever's in my mind anymore. I failed on the second. Perhaps because my expectations was too high since it's about Mercedes-Benz. In short, it's simple as talking to the wrong people.

Finally, three days after I placed my order on SharedBook to have this blog printed as a draft, I'm convinced this is what coffee drinkers will pick in the magazine stand of their favorite coffee shops, free of charge.


Browsing through the glossy pages, the draft basically contains the writings and pictures of this blog. Which will provide the fundamentals on what goes in to the real public version of the coffee table book in which other writers will be given space to write about the marque and magazine-quality photographs where budding photographers will be given an opportunity to share their works on Mercedes-Benz.

Coffee Table Book

The book will only contain stuff that a coffee table reader can understand and learn right at the very moment of his/her relaxation, so none of those mystified "AMG-spec", "mil-spec" or even assuming what's on the mind of the designer and car lingos that can't be referenced from an official manufacturer's documentations and service manuals. In the larger picture, the content is just about the marque and its relationship to the country it's running on; the culture, the ownership, the legacy, the lives and the challenges that the owners has gone through together with their reliable Mercedes-Benz whether it's a classic (there's no old Mercedes-Benz) or new, in which club they belong (so what? Even Germany has more than one official club).

Coffee Table Book

This is "Chedeng", Philippines' Mercedes-Benz Coffee Table Book/Magazine. What's next? We seriously want to distribute it free of charge. For now, please do enjoy the online version. ;)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hot Rod Festival And Restoration Expo

Hot Rod is loosely defined as any typical American car with modified engine for straightline speed. If this definition is strictly followed, then Mercedes-Benz has no room for it. But thanks to the organizers of 2009 Hot Rod Festival and Restoration Expo in the Philippines where everyone has been given fair and equal treatment...including those who invited themselves which gives a whole new meaning of the word "Hot Rod".

So what can be considered a Mercedes-Benz "Hot Rod"? First that "Rod" has to be a roadster, with the "SL" that stands for "Super Light" and not "Stretch Limo", forced induction not required but can be an advantage.



That looks good on everyone.



It can be a convertible.


Sometimes it doesn't have to be a classic roadster. It also has to be squeaky clean.


But most important of all, it doesn't need to have "flame". Because a Mercedes-Benz "Hot Rod" can hold its own. Just like the individuals who keep them.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Head Job

It's not what environmentally-friendly-minded(read: green) people think it is. Klaudia, after providing great runs for me for more than a year has run into an uneventful state of serious corrosion in the cylinder head that turned into a cauldron creating coffee-like mixture of oil and water, inconsistent idling, higher idling temperature and many more symptoms of a major illness. Surprisingly, Klaudia's M102 powerplant just run too well to warrant a neglect and fortunately, her new owner will not sleep over a minor hiccup.

The problem was confirmed upon opening the cylinder cover and dismantling of the cylinder head. Lo and behold, what stumbled upon us is an ugly but a hopeful situation.


Upon seeing this, my blood seems to rush all over my head. I was quoted with a very ridiculous price for a replacement and I believe there's a cheaper alternative. In a mild state of panic, I started making phone calls and posting questions online on where to get a cheaper replacement. I was in a very impeccable timing as it looks like a cylinder head season and almost everybody's buying one to replace theirs. Among my calls made its way to Terence Cosiep of Enkat who told me that the cylinder can be repaired and asked me to just bring it to him and he'll take care of it, another call went to Mike Lugtu of the famous Mike and The Mechanics who suggested to bring the cylinder head to Bavarian Machine Works in Pasay. On the following weekend I brought the head to Terence and got one of his helper to bring us to...Bavarian Machine Works, B.M.W.


Bavarian Motor Works is located in Cabrera St., Pasay City. This is a machine shop whose very specialty is rebuilding Mercedes-Benz cylinder heads, engine blocks to name a few. It's a typical machine shop with middle-aged people hanging around, never mind the ragged looks, these guys are competent craftsmen that can passed up as AMG engine builders in Affalterbach, sometimes even better. For safety reasons, I was not allowed to go to the work area and see what they are doing but those lathes, shapers and grinders surely helps a lot in building the nation's economy. They have every right tools to build a Mercedes-Benz engine.


One machinist approached and took a look at a badly injured cylinder head, he spinned out a micrometer caliper and started measuring the damages. With a sigh of relief, my cylinder head passed off as "repairable". So the cost estimation went on with the friendly owner who has been kind enough for my impatience.

On my part, I went around buying the new parts I need. Of course, I got several stuff mostly from Enkat which included a new camshaft, water pump, gaskets etc. Also went to Delodur for the sliding rail, timing chain, chain tensioner, oil seals etc. Also been to Charon for the coolant reservoir and for the hydraulic valve lifters which I cancelled because we didn't able to rummage a complete set.

Days gone by and the cylinder head is finally ready. I went to B.M.W. to pick it up and paid the cost, run to Mang Danny to have everything assembled. Although got some minor problems on small parts that was left out or missing such as the camshaft woodruff. But eventually, the cylinder head is again on top of the cylinder.


B.M.W. did an excellent job in regrinding, re-surfacing and cavity-filling of the cylinder head, as if it was new and nothing has happened.



Again, don't be fooled by the ragged looks, these guys(Mang Danny's) are competent. While I was shooting this assembly process, behind me is a dismantled 2006 Volkswagen Touareg in which the owner is having a hard time looking for a shop to fix it.


After which, Klaudia started normally as if only a tune-up was done. Mang Danny didn't recommend the mythical "break-in" so out of the garage I pushed the pedal to the metal and thankfully, it is catching up again.


Next phase is body works, but honestly, it's difficult for me to put her in the garage again for a long time, she just runs like a dream.