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Everything posted by Xecho

  1. Let me toss another idea out there on the table... Place an ad to see if anybody around that area is looking to transport their car to the USA. You make arrangements to deliver their car and you get your bike and dog moved in the process. This used to be a common occurrence in years past. There used to be a company (I think it was called "Auto-Drive-Away") that helped get drivers lined up with cars that needed to be transported. I'd check that out before going to all the trouble with governmental red tape in buying / registering cars.
  2. A paint job is expensive. If you change the original color of the car, it's MORE expensive and a lot more difficult because of all the edges around the hood, trunk, wheel wells, doors, etc., etc. If you paint the car with 'rattle cans' it will come out striped... alternating stripes of shiny paint and dull, flat paint. That's because the paint dries between passes and has no time to 'flow' into a continuous coating. There's not a lot of paint in a rattle can and there's not enough air in the can to adequately atomize the paint. If you must paint it yourself, here's a few tips. The PLACE is important! Cool, no dirt, no wind, adequate ventilation. The Time is worth consideration. At night, bugs will be attracted! The preparation of the surface is a major factor. Old wax residue needs to be removed with thinner (acetone, etc.). Bugs and tar needs to be removed. Rock chips need to be sanded and 'flared' out to about 3" diameter. Masking tape can't be left on for more than a few hours or it will become part of the car. Buy or rent a compressor and a spray gun. You don't want to run low on air and you don't want to have to stop in the middle of the job to refill the paint. Install a condensation trap in the paint line. Heat build-up from the compressed air will condense water that will be blown out onto the wet paint otherwise. I'd recommend enamel rather than lacquer because it's easier to work with. It has a long flow time (stays wet longer) and it doesn't need to be buffed out afterward. Be sure you have a respirator... You DON'T want to breathe in the paint overspray!!! You might want to remove little chrome do-dads. (Silverado EFI, LE, etc.) It's easier to remove them than it is to clean and to mask around them. If you REALLY don't care about the nice finish, at least go with a compressor and paint gun instead of the rattle cans. Stay out of the sun, wind and bugs!
  3. I've been HAD again!!! Let me tell you the rest of the story - and the latest one... The KIA that I bought from the KIA dealership still had considerable warranty time - but the dealer had taken the warranty book out of the car when he sold it to me and so that was voided because I couldn't produce any evidence that the car had been serviced prior to my purchase. That KIA Rio (you may recall that I mentioned earlier) had an "Interference Engine" which means that it'll self-destruct if the timing belt breaks so I was a bit afraid of that happening. KIA recommends replacing the timing belt at 60,000 miles so I had it replaced at 52,000 miles just to be safe. Well, it broke anyway! I'd just installed: new battery tires wheel balance brakes rotors front-end alignment and then the new belt broke and the pistons hit the exhaust valves and destroyed much of the engine... but I got it all rebuilt. (The students in the Auto Mechanics shop at TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology) did the rebuild - I supplied the parts.) I was "Afraid" of that car doing it to me again so I traded it for a Ford Escape Eco-Boost with 49,000 miles on it at the local Ford Dealer. (Factory warranty is 50,000) but I've learned not to rely upon a used car warranty anyway.) I decided to buy the dealer's "Car-DOC" maintenance plan and then I went elsewhere and purchased an "extended warranty" that cost me $2,000 - lump sum - up front, that covers only the drive train. My Ford Escape now has a little over 58,000 miles on it. (I've driven it about 9,000 miles since purchase.) Three days ago my "CHECK ENGINE" light came on and guess what? They told me, "You're going to need to find another way home." Engine coolant has leaked into one of the cylinder's combustion chambers and has eaten up the walls of the cylinder - which has destroyed the engine block! The cost to repair? - - - $7,860 !!! NO FACTORY WARRANTY!!! So I'm paying $300 a month for a car with a destroyed engine and I still need to keep up insurance for the next 4 years! WHY would anybody be SCARED about buying a CAR? The mechanic at Ford said another guy had the same problem as me last week and that the Ford Escapes are prone to this problem and that I shouldn't have bought an Escape! And not to buy ANOTHER one!!! Well.... there is a little light at the end of this tunnel... That extended warranty that I decided to buy for $2,000 ??? The Ford dealer contacted them with a repair claim and they have agreed to pay for a brand-new engine. That's ALL that has saved my bacon! I'm still on the hook for $100 (deductible) and for the sales tax of $586 but at least my car will be running. The new engine has been ordered and it has a warranty of 2 years or 24,000 miles. So should I trade it for something else? Incidentally, that Car-DOC maintenance plan that I bought from Ford includes the use of a courtesy car in the event that my car repair is delayed. They didn't offer me a ride home from the dealership! I had to call a neighbor to come and get me and to bring me home. Then, in talking to the service department and was waiting on HOLD - their advertisement on the Car-DOC plan played over the phone and told me about the courtesy car. So I arranged to have a friend drive me back to the dealership to pick one up. Oh, and that OTHER guy that had the same problem last week? He hadn't bought a supplemental warranty so he's out'ta LUCK! Even with a new engine, I'm reluctant to KEEP it. And I'm scared to go to the next CAR DEALER to do it all again! I wonder if I could get by with a bicycle?
  4. The fear that you are feeling is your common sense trying to protect you from a potential predator that can have dire consequences if you fail to heed. There’s a reason that car dealers share a reputation with scrupulous politicians, lawyers and outright shysters. They’re typically going to take you for a ride. Take for example the KIA that I bought just a couple of years ago from the local Kia dealership. It supposedly had considerable time left on the factory warranty but about a week after my purchase, I discovered that the dealer had removed the warranty book from the glove box. As you should already know, the factory warranty is contingent upon performing the required periodic maintenance as mandated in the warranty book and failure to comply with those maintenance intervals will void the warranty. Since I could produce no record of any maintenance prior to my ownership of the vehicle – it was actually sold to me without a warranty because I had no way to persuade the dealer to provide the information. I called the factory KIA representative to see if there was any online record of my vehicle’s VIN having a maintenance validation but after an exhausting all avenues of possibility, I had to conclude that I’d been ‘Taken’ once again. The fact is that the dealer conducts many ‘deals’ every month and thereby knows all the shortcuts, loopholes and shady shyster’s ways of making the most for himself at every turn. You on the other hand, he sees as his next ‘mark’ and as an uninformed bumpkin, you’re like a typical visitor to the Midway at the county fair. If you’ve got a friend who is savvy on the art of working the deal, by all means ask him to accompany you on your shopping trip or at the very least, try to learn as much as you can before you sign any papers that will obligate you and your family for the upcoming five years. I don’t consider myself to be foolish or an idiot, but I’ve been taken a ride on almost every purchase that I’ve ever made with a car dealer. They’re usually pretty slick operators – and you’re not.
  5. It's not just USED cars that can be a harrowing experience because you can be badly burnt when buying a NEW car too. I bought a brand-new Chevrolet pickup truck from the local Chevrolet dealership. The truck was a lemon from the factory (which wasn't the dealer's fault) but the dealer wouldn't honor the quality standards that the company touted. The fuel tank on my new truck read "E" when I drove it out of the Chevy dealership so I went to a nearby service station and got it filled up. As I prepared to leave, there was gasoline splashing around the accelerator, clutch and brake pedals and the strong fumes were almost overwhelming. I drove directly back to the dealership where a service tech told me that the filler neck hadn't been welded into the fuel tank, but was just stuck in there. "We'll have to remove the gas tank to weld the neck into the tank but we can't do it today. You've filled the tank up! You'll need to drive it until it's almost empty and then you can bring it back and we'll do it." "I don't THINK SO! I'm not driving around in it with gasoline running around inside the cab. You trying to get me BLOWN UP?" "Oh, okay, but we'' have to drain that gas out that you put in it and fill the tank with water so we can weld on it." When I got it back the engine would sputter and balk from the residual water in the system. Four days after taking possession of the vehicle, I took it into a self-serve car wash. You know, the type where you walk around with the sprayer wand and wash it yourself. To my shock and amazement, the water spray struck the side of my new truck and huge sheets of paint were stripped off down to the bare steel! I picked up a piece of paint measuring about 20 x 30 inches and looked closely at it, turning it over in my hands to discover that the steel had never been primed. The factory had just painted the color coat directly on the steel body. I went back to the dealer and he told me, "There's no warranty on paint on a pickup truck." A week later as I was coming home from work and approached an intersection, I attempted to downshift from 4th gear but the transmission was locked in 4th gear and couldn't be forced out of gear. I drove all the way to the Chevy dealership in 4th and pulled up right in front of the service door entrance. A service tech yelled at me as I got out of the cab... "Hey? You can't park THERE! We have to get in and out of that door!" "I can't move it. It's stuck in GEAR!" "Well, you can't leave it THERE! You're going to have to MOVE it!" I ignored him and walked on into the showroom of the building where a salesman approached me... "Sir? Is that your truck? You can't leave it parked there. They have to keep that door clear." "I can't move it because it's stuck in 4th gear." "Well, you can't LEAVE it THERE!" I ignored him and walked on into the service department where the service manager yelled at me... "Hey? You're going to have to move your truck away from that door! We need to get in and out of there!" "I can't move it. It's stuck in 4th gear and it won't back up." "Well, you CAN'T leave it THERE! You're going to HAVE to MOVE it!" "Go ahead and move it if you want it moved." "Ah, dammit! Are the key's in it?" "Yes, the keys are in it but it's stuck in gear." "Joe, go out there and move that truck someplace so it's not blocking the door. His keys are in it." So Joe went out and got into my new truck and started it up. I could see him yanking and shoving on the gearshift lever. After more attempts, he opened the driver's door and partially stood outside where he could yell at the service manager... "I can't MOVE it. It's STUCK IN GEAR!" "Well, just bring it on in then and put it in Bay 3." After about a week went by, it was ready for me to pick it up. The salesman told me that all those model of Chevy trucks were doing that and locking in gear this year. In all, I had that new truck for about three weeks before I took it to the Ford Dealer and traded it in on a Mustang. Needless to say, they only gave me less than wholesale price for my trade-in even though it was less than a month old and had only a few hundred miles on it. I went ahead and accepted the several thousands of $ of loss, chalking it up to ' Experience' and to avoid spending any more grief or money on the Chevy truck. Experience is often an expensive lesson. Xecho
  6. Okay, let's take a closer look at this. Why is there fear in the first place? It's because you're placing yourself into a position where you might not just lose your money, but also someone else's money that you're obligated to pay back. And - if it does happen, you're going to suffer a loss that might well be devastating. Yes, who wouldn't be scared? Maybe if your name is Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg it wouldn't be scary at all but for most average-income people, buying a car is a major investment. I've heard it said that for the average person, food is the only thing in the budget that costs more than the car - even more than the house because it must be continually replaced. If the car breaks or is destroyed before it can be paid for, then there's a loss that is devastating and it will likely take years of hard work and many rubles to recover. If you have to buy a car, you're forced into taking a chance that you really don't enjoy taking. You know you're going to lose. You just don't know how much or how badly it's going to hurt until after you've committed. That's why anyone with basic common sense has fear of signing the papers. The seller has no mercy. The lender has no mercy and the government regulators have no mercy. There's nobody looking out for your tailfeathers - but you - and you'd better not foul this up! Yes, that even scares ME and I ain't afraid of NUTHIN! So the bottom line is the same as it is with any gambling venture... don't risk more than you can afford to LOSE! I'll share a real-life story here. (Consider: "Finding out how that buck lost his antler can keep you from losing yours!") My friend, Gene, saw a car that he wanted very badly even though he wasn't in a position to make such an extravagant purchase. He went to Household Finance and borrowed money to place a down payment - and then he signed the papers to buy the car on credit. Gene couldn't afford the insurance but the lender required a full-coverage policy to protect their company's interests. So he bought a policy that could be paid on a monthly basis - at a much higher price. His budget was stretched to the point that he could barely afford to fill the tank with petrol. And then the worst thing happened. He missed an insurance payment and then the car was wrecked beyond repair. Insurance wouldn't pay off so Gene needed to buy another car. He sought money from his family to help him buy a 'beater' and he discovered that his insurance rates had gone up considerably so he only bought liability and property damage insurance - on credit - and all the while he was making payments on the wrecked hulk of the luxury car that lay in the weeds of the back garden. You probably know several people just like Gene in your own experiences. It's not an uncommon story. You routinely read about people who fake a car theft or they'll deliberately wreck the car for insurance in a desperate attempt to get out of the predicament that they've placed themselves into. And THAT is why it is fearful to buy a car - unless your name is Gates or Zuckerberg. The answer is - "Don't risk more money than you can afford to lose." Xecho
  7. This is a question that I've wondered about for years and I've asked a great many people - including drivers of (articulating lorries) semi-trucks but have never gotten a valid answer. Why doesn't engine compression slow down the vehicle equipped with a diesel engine (unless it's equipped with a "Jake Brake"?) The first time I came across this problem was when as a teenager, I was helping a neighbor on his farm baling hay. He asked me to turn the hay over to dry it with his diesel, David Clark tractor pulling a hay tedder. All went well until I started down a hill and the tractor took off freewheeling down the hill to my complete surprise. Our gasoline tractors, (Allis-Chalmers & IH Case) would prevent this 'run-away' condition by merely reducing the throttle. But with the diesels - there is absolutely no discernible back pressure to help you decelerate. (WHY?) Knowing that a diesel engine has somewhere around twice the compression ratio of a gasoline engine, I'd expect it to slow me down quite effectively when going down a hill but it seemingly has no effect at all on deceleration. Of course, the truck drivers are quick to point out that you can close the Jake Brake to help you slow down - but the question remains... Why does it NEED one? Xecho
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