Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kia Sportage Review and news

Just a quick review:

When I had the MINI in for its last service I got a Kia Sportage as a loaner. I was very impressed with this budget minded compact SUV. My model had the V6 that was pretty good. If I where looking for a small SUV I would give this one a look. Good price, has everything you need and plenty of space. I would write more but I only had the car for about 28 hours. Nothing bad stood out in that time.

Kelly and I did see a new Hyundai Veracruz last weekend. Pretty slick looking car, takes all of its design clues from the Lexus RX. I think Kel and I will have to look at this car when we decide to have kids. 7 seater, good warranty, good looks, great reviews and 15k cheaper than the Lexus? Hmmm.....

Going to try something new in every post now, just quick hits on what is bouncing around in my head... I'll call it

News and Ramblings:

Bumming about a 2nd straight loss for Georgia Tech. Excited about my upcoming trip to Vegas (still more than a month out). Still trying to wait the Nissan Patrol guy out, hoping he calls ands wants to sell cheap. Bummed that this is the only Patrol in the SE for sale. Intrigued by the Land Rover Series IIa if the Nissan gets sold or price doesn't come down (which I hope doesn't happen, I am kind of stuck on this car). Liking this morning boot camp Kelly and I are doing together, I guess I have to figure out some exercise to keep doing once it is over. Glad that we finally got our new fridge installed. Bummed that it took so long and required some "modifications" to the kitchen. Hoping that my Korea customer sends me a few new Purchase Orders this month. Excited and very happy for my sister-in-law, Emily, finally getting engaged to a guy I actually like hanging out with. Think that about covers it for now.....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Electronics Fixed

I fixed the fuel and temperature gauge this weekend. Both gauges run off a voltage stabilizer that feeds a constant 10v. I knocked the power wire off of the stabilizer when I was painting the passenger footwell. Hooked the hot wire back in and everything was back to normal. That is until I took the TR for a nice long drive and the radio stopped working! Grrr, dang old cars. Anyway, that was an easy fix. The driver side footwell speaker had come a bit loose and grounded out on the body. I took the speaker out for a bit so that I can get it mounted better when I have some time.

Otherwise the TR is running great. I can tell that the carbs (or state of tune of the carbs) don't really like the colder weather. The engine really hums when the ambient temp is over 75 or so but when it is below that there is some performance drop off. If I ever get around to learning how to rebuild and really tune my carbs then I am sure that I can fix this by tuning the car every spring and fall.

That is about it for now. Kel and I have started a morning boot camp workout thing, hope to see if I can drop a few lbs and finally put some work into getting my knee restrengthened. Waiting on the Nissan Patrol guy still as well. Have to kick around prices a bit more. It is a tough call because it is such a rare truck but the price is just a tad to high at the moment. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lucas strikes back

Well, as it is said about old cars, there is always something.

I got the seats back in and the brake rub fixed on Tuesday. After getting that done, I decided to give the TR its first wash (yes I've had it a year and had not washed it yet). So I took extra care to be careful where I was spraying water and made sure to get it dried off as soon as possible. Once done I stood back and admired how good the car actually looks, even with a 20 year old paint job that has seen much better days. Decided to fire her up and take her for a nice spin. Start her up and don't you know it, the temp gauge and fuel gauge have stopped reading. I figured it could be a bit of moisture shorting something out so I drive a around and bit and decide to check on the gauges the next day. Well they still where not working on Wednesday. The thing I discovered about those two gauges in particular is that they are both hooked to a Voltage stabilizer that delivers a steady 10v to the gauge loop so that they will read. I am guessing I must have done something to this between painting or washing. I will check it out this weekend and hopefully get the gauges back reading normal.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Not much going on in the world of motoring right now. I am home sick with a wicked head cold/flu type thing. I did finish cleaning up the floorboards on the TR. They look much nicer now with no rust and a fresh coat of paint. From getting into them, it looks like the passenger floorboard is original to the car while the drivers side has been replaced at some point. Engine is running great, just waiting for some cooler weather to really get some more good driving in. I do need to pull the front left wheel off and check some rubbing issues.

Took the MINI in for its last service today. Get an oil change and the rear brakes replaced. I have a Kia Sportage as a rental. Thought I would give it a whirl and see how it drives. So far it is pretty nice. A full review will come later this week.

On the Nissan Patrol front, I offered the seller what I thought the car was worth. He said he had a few more people that wanted to look at it and would let me know in a few weeks. I really don't want to pay more that I offered for the car so if I get it, great. If he wants more than I offered? Too bad for me.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ford Fusion Review Pt. II

Ok, here are my final thoughts on the Ford Fusion.


Seats where nice and supportive even for a base level car. Never had a problem being uncomfortable even after 3+ hours. The cloth that the seats where covered in was a step up from the material that I have seen used in American cars in recent years. Maybe Ford got the memo that you can make a cheap car feel a lot nicer if you spend a few extra bucks on the interior. All of the controls where very well laid out. I still can't get used to the one stalk configuration of most new American cars. I guess I am just used to having the lights and turn signals on the left and wipers on the right. One interesting layout feature that a took as very strange at first but actually makes tons of sense once I got used to it was the position of the turn indicator stalk. Most seem to stick out to the left at about 9:30 while the Ford stalk stuck out at around 10:30. It seemed very high at first but then I realized that it was much closer to where my hand usually is on the steering wheel and required much less movement to engage. In fact, when I got back in my MINI I wiffed on the first attempt to use a turn signal because I had gotten used to the stalk being much higher. A very nice touch that I think shows at least someone is thinking about ways to improve car interiors. Only real beef with the interior was lack of steering wheel audio controls, otherwise the stereo was passable for this level trim car and it was nice that there was an Aux Input for mp3 players. Visibility was also nice all around except for some sight problems over the rear deck and 3rd brake light that really are only noticeable at night when some cars can "disappear" if close enough behind you.


Not much but not too bad either. Engine struggled at times with 4 people plus baggage in the car. Engine noise was rather loud and raspy at higher revs when down shifting to pass. Corner stability was good and steering response was surprisingly good for this type of car. I think this car and engine could do more with a different transmission. The gear shift only showed Drive and Low options and the transmission only felt like it had 3 gears even though the Ford website lists it as having a 5 speed transmission. Put an automatic with sport shift options in this car might sport up the base 160hp 4 cylinder a bit.


Not a bad looking car. I think the tail lights could use some work but other than that you know it is a Ford.


A nice car. I don't know if it can compete with the Accords, Camrys, Mazda6 and Pontiac G6 that are in its class. If I had to compare it with the Mazda and Pontiac there are some things that set it apart. The interior is much nicer than the Pontiac and about on par with the Mazda. The Pontiac is the sportiest while the Mazda and Ford share a wimpy engine that is just a little over matched in cars this heavy. If I had to chose one of the 3 that I have driven it would still be the Pontiac based on the fact that it can be fun to drive. But, if I was looking for something that had plenty of space, got good mileage and was comfortable to drive? The Ford would get a good long look.