Posts Tagged Cars

Fixed… For Good Now!

So, there is something that has always been annoying to me, and that is the plastic skid plate underneath the engine on my Jetta TDI, and not just the plastic skid plate itself, but also the side skirts that the skid plate attaches to. I think I have replaced the skid plate itself 5 times in the past 9 years I have owned the car, and then the plastic side skirts have broken at least 3 times, usually when there have been ice chunks in the road. This doesn’t even count the number of times I have had to mess with the stupid screws that hold the skid plate to the side skirts and the frame, or the little metal thing that holds the screw as well.

This thing is literally the bane of my existence with this car, which I otherwise completely and utterly love more than almost any other vehicle I have ever owned, the only one I love a little bit more is the Valcan 900 motorcycle I bought this year, so maybe it’s just newer which is why I love it a little more right now.

So I recently got my bumper fixed after a moron decided it was a good idea to try to put on his seatbelt with a broken arm while pulling out of the gas station, and thus hit and scratched up my bumper. Yeah, you are gonna pay for it when you do that, even though the scrapes were not a lot, they were enough and I wanted my pound of flesh for his stupidity.

So, I get the car back, and I am cruising down Storrow Drive on my way into Boston and I hear a slightly familiar sound as I go up and down over the undulating roadway that Storrow is.




Yup, I hear the skid plate scraping on the ground.

I stop when I am at my destination and take a look at the problem, and it is not exactly what I suspected, but it is more annoying than I expected. The skid plate was held in place perfectly and was completely attached to the side skirts and frame just as it’s supposed to be. However, the side skirt is broken up at the top where it connects to the frame up by the top of the wheel well.

Oh sure, great, another $200 to spend for the parts and labor to get the skirt replaced, because you can only buy them in pairs and it’s a PITA to do this without a lift.

So, I am done with plastic, it has some great uses but this really is not one of them.

After a massive amount of searching and reading through online forums, specifically ones at,, and, I decided to go to and purchase from them.

I ended up looking things over and bought the combo of the Panzer skid plate and the Full Metal Jacket side skirts. When something is talked about as much as they are on forums, then there has to be some truth to it. I chose the one that has the nice cut out for oil changes, so maybe I will go back to doing my own changes again, or it will just make it nice and easy for whoever I pay to do my oil changes instead of needing to deal with the old plastic plate again.

Now the real challenge set in, the waiting for it to be shipped and arrive. Fortunately, it came in 4 business days, so I got it last Thursday after ordering it the previous Saturday night. I can live with that.

So the installation went pretty easy, I got the installation done in about 3 hours, but in reality, if I had fully read the whole install guide and had all the tools I needed ahead of time, I could have had this wrapped up in 60-75 minutes.  I rolled the car up onto my tire ramps, and then was able to get under the car with little to no problem, I took off the old skid plate, and then easily took off the old side skirts which were practically falling off anyway.

Then it became a little more complicated, I needed to figure out how to use the “rivnuts” that they sent, and how to use the tool they send to get them put in, all in all, it was actually pretty simple, but it did take a couple minutes to sort it out and get comfortable with it.

I didn’t end up needing to purchase many tools to get this done, I used my standard ratchets and was fortunate enough to have an extender bar that was JUUUUUST long enough, although another 2 inches wouldn’t have been horrible.(insert Michael Scott saying “That’s what she said”). I did end up purchasing a 3 pack of ratchet swivel tips to be able to get at a couple of the bolts at weird angles, and also a nice can of grease. Who doesn’t love grease right? I hear it is the word.

So once I got in the rivnuts, I then popped on the mounting arms for the skid plate. These are pretty nice, they attach the skid plate to the upper part of the frame instead of attaching it to the side skirts, this puts less pressure and weight on the side skirts so they won’t break as easily, although with them now being metal instead of plastic, I don’t expect them to break anyway.

Then the side skirts go on, these went on smoothly without too much trouble, a little twisting and turning to get it done, but not much trouble.

Then the skid plate went on, this was a little tougher than the plastic one because it’s about 25 pounds or so instead of the 5 or 6 that the plastic one weighs, but it sure did attach nice and solid with the bolts into the rivnuts, I took it for a spin afterwards and it felt good, and sounded slightly more quiet than the old one, I suspect the way it attaches and the metal itself probably absorbs a bit more of the noise, and probably keeps a little more of the ground noise out from coming through as well.

Sadly, I did not take any really good pictures like I probably should have of the process, I have a couple from the iPhone, but they aren’t anything remarkable. It looks pretty much like all the stock pictures from over at Dieselgeek if you go check it out, they have some decent videos too.

Also, I did the install using the PDF version of the install guide on my iPad instead of having it printed out, and it was very nice, easy to zoom in on pics and such to make sure I was getting everything in the right spots.

Also, no major injuries occurred during the process. I got real dirty with grease and grime, and somehow my butt really hurts, I think the combination of using my muscles to wiggle in and out from under the car for 3 hours in combination with having ZERO padding on my ass to begin with contributed to that. Also, my arms and wrists got pretty sore in the process as well, holding them up and cranking on the ratchets to get the rivnuts in and then to get the bolts in took some time, and the angles didn’t help, definitely not things my wrists and arms are used to doing on a regular basis.

This is a video that shows Jim at DieselGeek installing the rivnuts.


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It is now ok for me to criticize it…

Not only is it one of the fucking ugliest cars out there, I now have the ability and qualifications to say that a Prius fucking sucks to drive!

Horribly uncomfortable, awkward, and absolute crap for sight lines.

Power is iffy at times and I really dislike how it doesn’t slow you down when you take your foot off the gas since the electric part takes over to keep the car moving more than you would in a normal car.

Just another car to add to the list with minivan and HHR on my no drive list with Avis.


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The Excitement NEVER ENDS!!!

Anyway, I am sure you are all aware of the drama dealing with my car last October and how the engine went kablooey, without the actual kablooey anyway.

But as of this past Friday, I am told that the new engine that I went and put a deposit on will be arriving at the dealership(New dealership versus the shitty one that fucked me over) this up coming Thursday or Friday, and they will start putting it in my car on Monday morning, and should be done by the end of the week barring any freaky problems.

How awesome is that? I will once again have my car back! My kick ass car that I really do love!!



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Been Drivin All Night and Hands Wet on the Wheel

and no, not just quoting a great song, that is actually what I have been doing since last night…

To sum it up Reader’s Digest style…

I had a flight, Montgomery to Memphis to Boston.

That was canceled so I was moved to a Montgomery to Charlotte to Washington DC flight in hopes of getting me closer and then just taking Amtrak back to Boston so I could be here in order to work today in Burlington doing a rebuild on a live system.

Well, my DC flight from Charlotte was canceled, and with the likelihood of the 9:45 flight not going either so I could get my 5:30 train in Washington to Boston I needed to improvise…

Ned rented a one way rental to Boston!

So Ned drove all last night from Charlotte, NC back to Waltham.

almost exactly 13 hours.

2 stops for gas, which included food at one, and a pee break at another

3 stops to pee on top of those 2 stops for gas, and I grabbed food at the last pee stop.

I was a slightly nice person and gave a ride to 2 people who were stuck on their way home from Cancun and were stuck there because their flight back to Boston was canceled and they could not get a rental car to get home. Lucky me, they paid for gas, tolls and gave me a few bucks as a thank you, but I am going to expense tolls and gas anyway, not that it is a huge amount of money, but a nice little bonus as far as I am concerned.

Definitely an early to bed for sleep night tonight for me.

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Crack Den Red Roof Inn

So I am in a crack den Red Roof Inn, although since this is the midwest right now, it is probably more likely a meth den more than a crack den.

The door to my room has previously been busted in by the cops or the DEA or someone since I can tell by the mark where the battering ram hit the door…..

I am pleasantly surprised at the time though, it only took me 9 hours to get here from Boston, and that included 2 stops for gas, and dropping off a kid in Hartford on my way.

That being said, i am pretty disappointed in the PT Cruiser I have as a rental, while it was excellent at doing donuts in the parking lot of the Red Roof Inn, it is very poor on gas, 2.5 tanks of gas to get here. I know my car could have done it in probably 1.5 tanks, this thing only gets about 23 or 24 MPG, pretty pathetic if you ask me!

I drove through PA on 84, and then 80 to get here. PA is pretty damn depressing to drive through in the winter. I hope it is better during the summer, otherwise I have pity on it.

ummmmm oh yeah… I felt kind bad for the girl at Subway in some PA town where I stopped for gas and got a sub for dinner, she was short and cute but you could totally tell she was pissed off at the two girls who were working the gas station register partially because they were doing basically nothing, and partially because you could tell they were the “popular girls” in terms of a high school type of thing, but that was only because they were probably ho’s, they looked like ho’s, and they had all the sleazy looking “gangsta” guys stopping by to say high and flirt with them.

I so wish I had a black light to check this bed out before I go to sleep in it… although it is probably best that I do not have that otherwise I would probably not sleep!

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I Have No Problem…

If you want to smoke… that is your choice… I won’t stop you…

If you want to read a map… that is your choice… I won’t stop you….

If you want to drink a cup of coffee… that if your choice… I won’t stop you….


Especially if I am in the lane next to you, between you and an 18 Wheeler. I don’t really like slamming on my brakes because you decide you want to change lanes in CT in your Purple Saturn SL2 from Maryland while smoking a cigarette, drinking a cup of coffee, and reading a map cuz you have no clue where you are!!

I will never understand that about some people, don’t you look at a map before you leave the house or where ever it is you start from? When you get onto a major highway don’t you look to see what number exit you need to get off at? Do you really need to keep the map on your steering wheel while driving because you are so unsure about where you are going? Exits don’t just sneak up on you!!! They have signs warning you that they are coming up, some even a mile or 2 before you actually get there! They are numbered and they are even in NUMERICAL ORDER!!! HOLY SHIT!! HOW SHOCKING IS THAT?!?!

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Karma Maybe?

So yes, I am back here in California now…

and someone or something is looking out for me, 2 weeks ago when I was here Avis screwed up a bit when they were out in the garage putting the name tags in the cars, so when I went out to get my car I came across a beautiful site…. a 2006 Mustang Convertible, I was psyched and very happy for this upgrade….. so I get in and head to the exit… I get there and find out that it was not my car, they had put the tag in the wrong vehicle, I was supposed to be in a Ford Taurus. OOOOOO FUN! NOT.

So I spent a week in that Taurus and dealt with it…

Well… today I was repaid… I legitimately got a 2006 Red Convertible Mustang.

It is fantabulous!

That deep throaty sound as you rev the engine or accelerate down the highway…. yeah… I like that!

However, I do have a few complaints…

1- Trunk space just is not there, you can fit 2, maybe 3 bodies in it, unless they are Calista Flockheart, then we could probably squeeze in 6 or 7.

2- Peripheral Vision…. really small rear window… not that great…. but with the top down it is no problem… take the good with the bad…

3- The speedometer… it only goes to 120mph, what the hell? My Jetta goes to 140!

and the last one… which anyone who knows me will probably agree that this is a crime against humanity…

4- It is an automatic…. yes, a high performance traditional US made Muscle Car has an automatic transmission in it. I think the crime against humanity is the fact that they even make these things with an automatic transmission in them! I know a lot of people say, “Why does it matter?” or “Who cares?”, and to these people, 99% of them have 1 of 2 things in common, they either can’t drive a stick, or they have never driven one for any extended period of time! I shall never go back to an auto again unless I am put under the threat of death!

ANY high performance sports car or muscle car should be a manual transmission… Porsche… Ferrari… Corvette… Camaro…. Mustang… jaguar… ALL of them should only be made in manual transmissions…

but I will enjoy this car none the less, but it could have been better….

I may need to go cruise for chicks just because I can!

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A Week Since My Last Update

Yeah.. busy week… to summarize….

I am back in California this week, same place as last week and it will be the same place next week.. I am coming home for the weekend though since I have a bunch of things to do and want to go get my newsed car registered on Monday.

Still trying to deal with VW on the situation with my car but I bought a Saab in the mean time to get me around when I am home. I figure once I get my car back I will either go enter a demolition derby with the Saab, or sell it. Depends on my mood at the time.

So CA is not all that interesting, I am working 11-17 hour days while I am here, and working is not really working since I sit here, and watch a computer screen and try to clear up any problems that happen.

Their system keeps locking up because of the way our programmers programmed the system, they fucked up so I need to sit and keep this thing on life support while they write new code to try to compensate for the problem.

Fuck, but on the upside, I am earning a ton of FF miles, Holiday Inn Priority points, I am not spending any of my own money on anything, and I am really cranking up the billable hours!!! I think I might almost be at my quarterly amount and I am only a couple weeks into the year!

What I am really waiting for is 11 days from now for my paycheck, that is gonna be the nice one, my 4th quarter bonus and then all the leftover from my 2nd and 3rd quarters that they held back from me last year.

I had tried to write a couple blogs earlier this week but the damn thing kept screwing up on me so I could not post em… oh well….

if you are ever in Watsonville, CA – then definitely check out Green Valley Grill and Cilantro’s Mexican restaurants. They are both really good. I had a very nice double breast of duck with a juniper, raspberry and red wine reduction with saphron rice and then at Cilantros I had some soft tacos ‘con carne asada’ and orange rice, and they were all really really good!

I am on the red eye home tonight, same as last week and same as planned for next week. That was the reason I did not make it to the show last week, I was totally drained and slept off and on Sat afternoon and was just too wiped to go out in public!

have a great weekend and hope all is well with all of you!

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Not As Far As You Think

Philadelphia…. or to be more exact… King of Prussia, PA.

Yes, there is actually a city called King of Prussia, no idea why it is called that, but there is a city called that.

Anyway, I drove here last night/this morning. I could have flown, but I like driving better when it is not too far. I love driving at night as well, no traffic or problems. Definitely not as far as I thought it was.

So after 327 miles and 9.75 in tolls, it only took 4 hours and 45 minutes to get here. Rather nice I think, no traffic!!

Such a fun ride, the only problem was a dink from Maryland who was tailing me almost the whole time. He would sit behind me and just follow me, fall back and catch up, fall back and catch up, change lanes with me, and then if someone was going faster than us, he would go follow them and stay right behind them, and then if they got off, he would slow down and get back behind me. Why not just drive what you want to drive instead of sitting behind someone else?

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Not Happy with VW at the Moment

ok, so as some of if not all of you know my car is in the shop, it came down ill while in NH and started making a loud clanking noise.

I have 1500 or so miles left on my warranty, and VW does not want to fix the car under warranty because they say that it is my fault, the suspect that the damage is due to the engine running too hot, and improper oil being used, and not being changed often enough.

Now, I am a smart person, I am pretty handy, and on top of it all, I tend to be a tad frugal with my money – why should I pay someone else to do what I can do myself, right?

So, I do my own oil changes, and simple things like fuel filter, air filters, etc etc – no problem right?

I was instructed by the dealer I got my car from that I had to use a specific oil for my oil changes – Castrol Syntec(synthetic) 5W-40. Ok, no problem!

So I got the right oil and have been doing my oil changes. I even showed the quart to the mechanic and he looked at it and said, “Well, that is not the exact same stuff that we use, but it is the full synthetic, and the right type, so you should be ok”

OK, no problem right? WRONG

They want to deny my warranty because it was the wrong oil.

BUT it gets better!!!

On top of that…. they also want proof of the oil changes. They want the reciepts for oil changes at a dealer, or the jiffy lube, or the receipts for the oil and filter at someplace like AutoZone.

What? Who keeps a receipt for $30 spent at AutoZone to buy oil? I pay cash and the recipet never makes it to my car.

I was diligent about this car, I changed my oil every 3000-4000 miles, pretty damn good for me considering I usually would do it every 7000-8000 in my other cars before.

So I said that to the guy, and he tells me that in my owners manual it tells me that I need to keep documented receipts for anything like this in order for my warranty to be valid.


My car had no owners manual! I was not given one by the dealer when I bought the car!

I specifically asked if there was anything special in it, and the only thing they told me was the oil, make sure you buy the right oil and use the right oil.

yeah, VW owes me, even if my lack of using the right oil, or not having receipts for things, Why? cuz their agents – aka sales person and service person – verbally told me what I needed to know, and they left out those things.

Yeah, I will throw them under the bus if I have to, I do not care how loyal I have been to Paul Clark Ford and Volkswagon, they deserve no loyalty at this point, for these things right here, as well as what they did to Tom after his years of service.

if worse comes to worse I will sell this car I love and never go back to VW again, if they want a loyal customer, then they need to be honorable about their part of the deal.

this will be updated……

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