Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Winding Down

I suppose it's only fitting that I wind down this blog with a photo of the car I have on order, since I started it with working to sell my Mazda 6.

So why now? With a little over 70,000 miles, I feel the GTI is in its mid life prime. It's serviced and ready to go. The tires still have tread. And there's a good number of miles before it needs its next major service at 80K, which will not be cheap. It's paid off and has held its value remarkably well, in German luxury car territory.

I've had the GTI experience and it was very good, probably the most fun you can have in a front wheel drive car and definitely just one step down from a BMW, which I used to own (E39 540i, E46 330i). I'm honestly a little tired of the sporty driving and wouldn't mind something a bit less punishing around town. I did notice on my recent Las Vegas trip that it's a fantastic long distance highway vehicle.

I'm selling it to a friend who has followed the blog. In fact, I've had more friends and acquaintances express interest in buying the GTI than any car I've ever had. It ticks all the boxes and appeals to a variety of people for a variety of reasons, from primary vehicle to urban runabout. It doesn't hurt that it's obsessively documented here and any improvements are what I consider tasteful.

My replacement vehicle is being built at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in Ohio. It's a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. As the example pictured above, it's coming in Anvil paint. The interior is brown leather, which is damn near impossible to find.  I visited a couple dealers yesterday in search of this color, but nobody has it and their computer systems aren't configured to search for it. Leather? Yes. The color of the leather? No. I do love brown interiors and had one of the first natural brown interiors in the BMW E46 330i.

Options, which I'm normally not fond of, include:

  • 3.2-Liter V6 24-Valve VVT Engine with Stop/Start
  • Uconnect 8.4AN AM/FM/SXM/HD/BT/NAV
  • Trailer Tow Group
  • Black Hood Decal
  • Leather Interior Group (Brown)

The one thing I have planned for the Trailhawk is an improvement to the stopping distance, which is poor due to the offroad tires. I've read larger brakes can be installed and I'm betting there are some better off road tires with an improved stopping distance.  All that will probably wait until the first set of tires are worn out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Water Pump

The GTI was brought into my local shop for a radiator fluid change, mostly because the water pump is such a known issue. And what did they find? Leaking from the engine block. A visit to the dealer confirmed the water pump was going. It was using about a cup a fluid a month for the past few months, so it's not entirely a surprise. That cost $1208.91.

I also had the front passenger seat belt tensioner fixed, since it wasn't working properly.

All the dings and dents were fixed by their paintless dent repair guy. 

We'll just call this a mid life tune up.

Mileage: 69,504

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

70,000 Miles

With a road trip to Las Vegas approaching, I had the oil changed a little early at 69,270 miles, using an ECS Tuning kit (oil, filter, drain plug).

I changed the cabin air filter from ECS myself using a helpful YouTube video. Last time I was charged $35 for this, with dealers charging upwards of $85. It's not complicated, although getting it back in was a bear, mostly because of the last step, a felt cover with wing nuts that's poorly designed. Still, I would do it again for $35. It wasn't at all complicated.

I'll have the tires rotated in the next week before the trip. It looks like they'll be good for another 10,000 miles, if I'm lucky.

The coolant hasn't been changed. There is no service interval for coolant, and there's discussion if this means it's lifetime or not. Still, many get their coolant replaced around this time. Like the fuel filters I continually change, I'll be extra safe with the coolant as well. Parts are on order.

I haven't had any other problems since the coil pack incident at around 60K miles. On my to-do list is a paintless bodywork tune up for various dings.

Mileage: 69,270

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Intake Manifold Warranty Extension

Received a letter stating intake manifolds and fuel injectors for 2011-2012 vehicles will be included in the federal emissions warranty, 10 years or 100,000 miles. Mine was fixed right within the standard warranty period, but the letter offered to reimburse those who weren't so lucky.