Friday, May 25, 2007

The Lost Review

Ok, so I wrote a review last week of the Mazda 6 that I rented while in Virginia. Through out the whole review I compared the Mazda to a Pontiac G6 that I had driven and reviewed. Well, I got to looking through my posts and realized that I never posted the entry about the G6 and my trip to the beautiful states of Iowa and Illinois. Why you may ask? Well I wrote the entry at the airport without any internet access and just never uploaded it. So, below you will find my somewhat delayed review of the Pontiac G6...

The below trip took place 4/2/07-4/6/07

Well, I am in the great states of Illinois and Iowa this week. Thought I would post a a car review and some food reviews.

On a side note, this is the 4th straight trip that I have been snowed on, kind of funny. I like snow but not the 26 degree temps with 50mph winds....that is why I live in Atlanta.


Pontiac G6

This is the 2nd time that I have rented a G6 while on a work trip. Both times I have gotten the V6 version. Not a bad little car. Has nice pick up when you step on it, had good back seat space, a pretty good stereo, and nice clear cut controls.

My biggest issues with it: The interior looks really cheap, loads of terrible black plastic, cheap feeling switches and control surfaces. Steering wheel is really big (it does tilt and telescope which is a plus) and just doesn't feel right for some reason. Seats, where do I start? Side bolsters are a bit too rigid and are at a strange angle. After 30mins the seat puts my left leg to sleep and starts pinching the sides of my back. The side mirrors are a strange shape and tend to cut off things towards the very outside of the viewing area.

Would I buy this car? No. Do I mind renting one? No. It is kind of fun to drive but I am glad that both times I have rented one that I haven't had more than an 1 1/2 drive to make in it without being able to stop for sometime.


Tuesday Lunch
Ate at a neat place in Albany, IL Tuesday for lunch. I think it was called the Albany Mississippi River Cafe. Local spot, pretty small. Good food and great prices. I ordered the meatloaf, a side salad and had mashed potatoes as a side item. All of it was good. Meal also came with a desert, I got a chocolate and peanut butter pudding. It was 6.95 for the whole thing. Good spot if you are ever in Albany, IL.

Tuesday Dinner
Ended up at the Blue Cat Brew Pub in downtown Rock Island, IL. Found an add for it in the hotel information book. Decided to give it a shot. Nice looking joint when you walk in, it is right across the street from the Rock Island Casino but looked to have only locals eating there. Order up a River Bend Pale Ale to start. All in all a very good IPA, not the best I have had, but for a Local Mircobrew very good. For dinner I had a half rack of their ribs at the suggestion of my friendly bar keep. How where they? Well the first indication that they where going to be good was when I went to eat the first rib and all the meat fell off right onto my plate. They were amazing. Best ribs I have had in quite a while. 2nd beer I ordered, the Blue Cat Anniversary Ale was much better than the first, it was a little darker and had a better taste to it. It was a good spot and somewhere that I plan to return to next time I am in the area.

Memorial Day Weekend

Hope everyone has a nice 3 day weekend coming up. I know with the temperatures going to be in the upper 80's all weekend hear in Atlanta I'll be spending some time by the pool.

Installed an emergency bonnet release on the TR yesterday. TR bonnet release cables have a bad habit of breaking when you least expect it. When that happens you have a heck of a time getting the hood open. It usually involves drilling a hole in the passenger footwell or using a broom stick from underneath the car. The emergency release installed nicely and will keep me from getting in this mess.

Next few projects in line on the car:
1. I need to get a new tachometer cable, tach needle bounces around, doesn't read and does some other crazy stuff. I already have a replacement tach but also want to get a new cable.
2. Need to change the oil and when I do that I plan on changing the oil pan gasket. Hopefully this will stop a few of the bottom end leaks on the engine.
3. I am going to pull the seats and try to free up the seat sliders. Drivers seat will only move forward a bit and the passenger seat is frozen in place. With the seats in the car, I can't get enough leverage to get them to move and I don't want to soak the sliders in WD-40 while in the car. Pretty easy to remove, I think there are only 4 bolts per seat.
4. Brakes, I hope to order all the stuff to do the front brakes in the next month or so.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Triumph Returns

I got the TR fixed last night and was able to take advantage of some nice weather and drive it to work today. Repaired the broken radiator hose, hit all the lube points with the grease gun, changed the rear differential oil and gave everything a good once over. Car is running great! Last few things I need to do before doing the brakes this summer; I need to change the transmission oil (but I have to figure out a way to get new fluid in the fill hole that is on the side of the transmission case), change the fuel filter and change the oil and oil pan gasket. After that it will be on to replacing the brakes.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mazda 6 Review

Ok, I was in Virginia and Maryland this week and had the opportunity to drive a Mazda 6 around for a week. Ending up putting about 600-700 miles on it. Figure I would continue my series of reviewing my rental cars. If you missed any I have taken a shot at giving my thoughts on a Ford Focus, Pontiac G6 and a Pontiac Vibe....

The Mazda 6 looks good (very much like the G6, in fact I have a hard time telling which is which sometimes). I had a base model I guess, cloth interior, single CD sound system, manual climate control ect. First impression was that it was a pretty nice car on the inside as well. Seats are better than the G6 but the viewing angle of the instruments was funny. Took me quite a while to adjust the steering wheel (tilt and telescope! a nice feature) to where I could read all of the gages. The gages are hard to read, especially the speedometer. It only has every 20mph listed (20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120) and the tick marks in between all look the same with almost no difference in size. This makes figuring out your speed at a glance very tricky and almost impossible to figure out at night without a prolonged stare. Other interior controls are straight forward. Nice layout of cruise and radio controls on the steering wheel. Climate controls are easy to read and operate. The only minus to the center stack is in the digital readout. It is red on black, making it hard to read in some light conditions. With polarized sunglasses, I could not always make out what radio station I was on (with polarized sunglasses getting more popular you would think car makers would maybe test the displays in their cars) and when I could read them the display was cluttered and had information I didn't need on it. All in all a nice interior but needs some big improvement on the gage and readout end.

Performance: Not bad for a 4 cylinder. Not sure on the hp but the G6 I drove seemed faster. This Mazda 6 did have the manual shift option. It would let me hold a gear and not change even if I hit the rev limiter (pretty neat) but shifts did take a while and I was not impressed on how the car lagged coming out of corners. Felt almost like I was driving an 80's Benz turbo diesel. Drive through corner, downshift right after braking (to avoid being thrown into the seat belt when down shifting because the tranny doesn't match revs), stomp the loud peddle and weight. Engine starts to make more noise, no real speed yet, revs pass 4500rpm, still waiting, revs get to 5000 and the car starts to get going. So this car had no torque. This is where the G6 did much better. Seemed to have a lot more torque down low and you could feel the car accelerate (the Vibe did this well also, even the Focus seemed to have some life when reved hard). With this Mazda 6 it just felt lifeless. Big minus in the Zoom Zoom category.

Ok, so I didn't like the gages and I didn't like the performance. But this was the base Mazda 6. I will admit that I almost bought a Mazda 6 Wagon with the V6 about 2 years ago. Very much enjoyed that car (with the V6 it has some punch) and if it had not been for employee pricing on a Saab 92x I would have bought one. Did I like the Mazda or the G6 better? I don't know. I would have to drive them back to back to give a real good review but both where comfortable on long trips, had good base stereos, and plenty of space in the cabin and the boot. I think I would have to lean towards the G6 just because its engine seemed to have a little life and made off the line starts a lot more fun than the Mazda.

Last you may have read the radiator hose had let go. I ordered a replacement that never made it too my house. Called up Victoria British and they shipped me out another free of charge and it arrived today. Figure I will get it on this week as well as spending sometime lubing the chassis and topping of fluids to get the TR back on the road by this weekend.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Got back from MOTD 5 as well as some business related traveling early last week. Kel and I had a great time. Wish that the weather up in NC had been better on Saturday but you can't have everything be perfect. Got a good number of clean runs on the Dragon through out the weekend. Kel and I did a bit of hiking in Joyce Kilmer and plan on doing a bit longer hike next year. All in all a very relaxing week. Much needed considering that I am in a stretch of only being home for 3 out of 16 days. But, if I am not traveling I'm not making money.

Plan on getting a bunch of work done on the cars this weekend (Triumph, Lexus, and the MINI). The idea is to finish the brake work on Kelly's Lexus, rotate the tires on the MINI (fronts are a bit used from the last weekend), and to finish the repairs (radiator hose) to the TR and do some other work (grease whole chassis, wash the car, change the transmission fluid, and change the rear dif fluid. I bought a suction pump to drain the rear dif.)

I'll out up an update after the weekend and may have a new car review depending on what I get on my trip to Virginia