2004 VW Jetta Brake Pads

Two days ago, Yow-Yow and I were running some errands, and we noticed an awful grinding sound coming from the front passenger side whenever I would use the brakes.  Thankfully, since it is a manual, I didn’t need to use the brakes a whole lot.  Once we got a chance to look at it, we noticed that the front pad was completely gone!  The only thing I can think of is that the pad shattered during the night or something, because it was there one day and gone the next (and it was completely gone).

Since I’m on vacation, I ran by pepboys and homedepot to get new brake pads (ceramic to keep the dust down), and a bunch of metric sockets.  I can’t believe that I work so much on my car, but don’t have any metric sockets.  Needless to say, that issue was fixed.

Anyways, if you find yourself in a similar situation of replacing the front axle break pads on a 2004 VW Jetta TDI (or any with the FS III caliper), the guide pins (bolts on the caliper) are 7mm hex.  Of course, this resulted in another run to homedepot.  I had an Alan wrench with 6mm and 8mm (and an ASE one too), but of course no 7mm.

Amazing how well it works with the correct tools.  Oh, and the stupid Bentley doesn’t tell you the right size or type either.  The picture alludes to a hex, but no where does it say.

Still, only took an hour to do both sets of front pads once I had the right tools.  Hopefully this helps someone else (or me when I have to do it again).

As an aside, I love how the wear indicator is only on 1 pad out of the 4 on the front axle.  Needless to say, the indicator didn’t go on for me, since it was on the wrong side of the rotor and the wrong side of the car.  Go, go german engineering!


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Fun Road

Since I’ve been spending so much time up at Belmont and Lincoln, I’ve been trying to find new ways to get from here to there.  I think I’ve found the jackpot too: Elston.  Everytime I’ve been on the road there’s been nobody on it, and it’s got slight bends in it that actually make it fun too.

What’s pathetic though, is I basically found it by accident.  One day when I was heading up that way, I took Ogden to Milwaukee, and was planning on taking Milwaukee to Ashland.  However, Milwaukee was closed (or at least that what it said, it was actually open) right after Elston, so I hopped on it instead.

Heading from Belmont South, I take Ashland to Elston, then Milwaukee, Racine, Grand, and I’m home (sorry I can’t show you a map of it, talk about a missing feature on mapquest and google maps).  What’s makes it even better is that the lights seemed to be timed just right so if you go 40-45 the whole way, you’ll make every green light.  Nice!

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Taxing by the Mile

This isn’t really new news, as I’ve seen it around before, but I think it’s finally it graces these pages.  Basically, Oregon is trying to implement a new road tax.  Unlike previous road taxes which have been collected at the pump, Oregon thinks it’s about time we start taxing people per mile.  This will be accomplished by throwing untold amounts of money at the problem via new technology to monitor your vehicle through a “black box”; a problem that never was a problem, you simple raise the gasoline tax to increase revenue.

Now, from another article, we find out that Oregon is “one of 10 states to have adopted a ‘clean cars program’”.  Which then not intend to use in order to extort money out of people.  It’s interesting how the government wants to have it’s cake and eat it too with this one: people buying fuel effecient vehicles, while still making money on gasoline tax.

As a high mileage vehicle owner, I am obviously not thrilled about this at all.  One of the reasons that I purchased a high milage vehicle was to cut down on costs at the pump.  This new billing mechanism completely ruins this.  Plus, who does all the road damage?  I can garauntee you my little Jetta does incredibly less road damage than a F150, Hummer, or anything else that gets less than 20 mpg. 

Granted, I’m sure if this would go into effect, people would be disconnecting them or modifying them somehow, against the law of course, but just to be in defiance.  Plus, I’m not all about the government knowing where I’m driving my car, nor should they care.  However, I probably would save money on this in the long term, since I don’t drive my car that often.

The best quote from the above mentioned NY Times article though is

Mr. Whitty said he had heard of some drivers of fuel-efficient vehicles being upset. Others, though, were feeling guilt about having paid fewer taxes than most drivers, he said.

I would personally like to meet these people that feel guilty about paying less to fill up there cars.  Because I’m positive that they don’t exist. 

Just get responsible, save the tax payers millions of dollars on not testing this black box that they aren’t going to want, and raise the gasoline tax.  Why change something that’s not broken?

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New VW Commercials

I just can’t get enough of the new “Un-Pimp My Ride” commercials from VW.  So much so, that I’ve linked them below for you viewing pleasure.  Also, I was informed about the “Make Friends with Your Fast” commercials, which, while not quite as funny, are quality none-the-less.

Un-Pimp My Ride: Crate

Un-Pimp My Ride: Wrecking Ball

Un-Pimp My Ride: Trebuchet

Make Friends with Your Fast: Hair

Make Friends with Your Fast: Streamlined

Make Friends with Your Fast: Officer

Make Friends with Your Fast: Take-Out

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I don’t know where to even begin with this.  There are so many things wrong with what the UAW is doing to the American automotive industry.  How long do they expect to bite (more like ravage) the hands that feeds them?  I guess if they’re going down, they’re taking everything with them.  I suppose that’s one way to think about it.  🙄 

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More Jetta Mods

Since I haven’t updated in awhile (well, other than the two other short posts a few minutes ago), I thought I’d back track a few weeks to keep people informed on what I’ve been doing. 

Not too long ago, I rolled over the 20k mark in the Jetta.  Time for another oil change, plus a few other things.  One of those things happened to be a new fuel filter.  Ouch, that’s a hefty $30 just for the filter.  However, I had been reading about the CAT 2 micron filters that could easily be retrofitted onto the Jetta.  The CAT filters are normally used for big rigs, but the filter replacements are actually cheaper, try half the price, plus they last way longer.

Unfortunately, you have to buy a new top to the filter.  This top, fittings, and a filter set you back $120.  Granted, I don’t know how long I’ll have the car or anything, so I don’t know if I’ll make back the money, directly ($15 every 20k+ miles takes a lot of miles), but I do know that the extra filtration will help keep the gunk out of the engine.  This is especially helpful since it seems like some of the places I end up filling up at are only used by me. 

As easy as the directions are for the filter install, it of course never is that easy.  Well, actually, it was that easy after I found the needed tools.  To begin with, I needed two strap wrenches.  After busting one of Bud’s strap wrenches just changing my oil filter, I didn’t want to get some cheap things just to have them break.  I hunted, and I hunted, but all I found was really cheap, or really expensive.  So, I ended up getting the Craftsman pair.  At least that way, if they break, they have a lifetime warranty.  Then, I needed to get something to actually clamp the fuel lines (one going into the filter, and one leaving it) while I replaced the filter.  I had seen these nice and simple ones that were essentially just a piece of metal and a wingnut to tighten it down.  Well, finding these would be next to impossible.  Thanks to an old coworker, I was able to locate something similar to at least go on.  I then called Carquest and they actually found it cheaper than I could.  I was more than impressed and they could get it to their store by the next day, Friday.  This part is key because I was heading up to Traverse City the day after that, and wanted to have this done.

So, Friday I left work a little early, swung by Carquest and picked up my Lisle Hose Pinchers, and headed home.  The goal was to get the filter replaced before I had to pickup Erin to go to her sister’s birthday party.  I get everything set, and tighten down the filter to the filter top.  *SNAP*  Of course, one of the stupid strap wrenches breaks.  Thankfully I had gotten everything tightened down enough. 

Amazingly enough, that was the only problem throughout the whole install.  I actually only took me 20 minutes, and the car actually started on the first crank.  I was so proud of myself.  Too bad I stunk of diesel. 

It’s been a few weeks since then, and no reported problems with the filter yet, which is always a good thing.  Now, if diesel would only drop below $2.50/gallon…

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Your Door is Ajar

This morning I drive to work, and then as I get out and lock the car, I noticed that the horn didn’t sound when I pushed the lock button.  The lights flashed like normal and the doors locked, but no horn.  Strange.  Then as I got in my car again for lunch, I noticed that it was complaining about my door being ajar, even though it wasn’t.

I figure, I need to take my car in for a recall soon anyways, so I’ll just have them take a look when I bring it in.  Then, after lunch, I went and filled up the car with some gas (had about 20 miles to go till I would’ve been stranded), and when I got back in, no more door ajar warnings.  Coincidence?

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The “Z” Part Deuce

Well, I totally forgot to mention the whole point in my coworker wanting to wash and wax his car last night.  He’s actually trying to sell it.  It runs great, sounds awesome, and is super clean.  If you want to see pics visit the 300zx gallery, and if you want to contact the owner about anything or even a possible purchase, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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.  He’s looking for $9500 obo.

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The “Z”

Yesterday a coworker and I went out to bw3’s to get a few beers and some food (35 cent wings) after work.  He asked me if I was busy later, and if I’d want to help him wax his ‘91 300ZX that he is selling.  I told him I was game, so began the adventure of last night.

First, we had to go get it washed, since it was covered in dust and dirt.  It had been sitting in his garage for some time because of various stuff he had been doing on it.  We also needed some terry cloths and a chamois for waxing and drying of the car.  We swung by AutoZone for those, since it was on the way.  When we got to the car wash, for some reason, we were the only people there.  It possibly had to do with the temperature being in the mid to low 20s, but the jury’s still out. 

Anyways, when he starts spraying it off, one of the trim pieces comes out.  He mentions that we need to get some silicon goo to put that into place (it hadn’t been mounted yet).  So, on the way back to his place, stop by again at AutoZone and get some silicon glue.  I think the lady thought we were high or something, but whatever. 

While we were riding in the Z, we both noticed how rough it was idling.  He was convinced it was because of the gas, since apparently the car hadn’t been used in about a year.  This is even after dropping a lot of Redline into the tank to clear out any water and boost the octane Of course, it had three quarters of a tank still, so getting the gas out was going to be interesting.

Well, we get back to his place, and start attempting to dry the car off.  Needless to say, even with two space heaters, and a spot light giving off lots of heat, it took awhile to dry the car.  Hell, it took awhile for the ice to melt that we had accumulated on the way back to his house (under 5 minute drive).  Once the car was dry enough, we started into the 3 step waxing procedure (cleaning, polishing, waxing), which honestly, it didn’t take that long to do, especially with two of us.

Now comes the fun part.  We both decided that the gas needed to come out of the car, especially since it had been sitting there for so long.  How exactly do you get gas out of a car?  I was watching an episode of MythBusters the other day, in which they did the same thing, but on an Explorer.  They even used a pump from the race track they were at, and they complained about how incredibly long it took to extract it all.  Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward.

We initially came up with a few ideas.  We could pump it out into buckets, we could siphon it out, or we could siphon it right into his other car (Audi) which was right next to it in the garage.  Obviously, the last choice sounded the best.  No mess, no having to play around with it, etc.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have a long enough tube to extend from one to the other, so it was on to the other options.

First we tried a cheap pump that he had just bought because he couldn’t get the drain plug out of his transmission.  He said that it was rated at 2oz per pump.  The Z holds around 14 gallons.  With it begin three quarters full, this gives us something around 10-11 gallons still in the tank.  128oz per gallon, with 10-11 gallons, and 2oz per pump.  We were looking at about 640 pumps.  We were severely bummed by this, but it was all we had. 

So, we turned off the two space heaters (hey, we aren’t thatdumb), and stuck the long tube into the tank and the short tube into a 4 gallon bucket.  Started pumping, and nothing.  Actually, it wasn’t just nothing, but the end of the tube wasn’t submerged because we were getting the slurping sound.  We pushed, and we realigned, and we tried and tried again, but for some reason we could not get the end of the tube to be submerged in the gas.  It’s like it was running into something near the bottom.  Maybe it was the size of the tube, and it was just getting tied up someplace?

With that thought, me moved onto something smaller.  Unfortunately, there was no way to use the pump anymore on it.  We also tried to use a mini-vac, but the tube was too small for that too.  Can I tell you how much I wasn’t looking forward to siphoning gas out with my mouth?  Nothing like the sweet taste of gas.  Well, being that it was his car, he gave it a good suck.  Obviously this was probably the first time he’d done this, since he appeared to have gotten a mouthful of the tasty stuff.  But, it was working, so at least we were getting gas out now.  Granted, it was coming out very slowly.  (Think when you’re taking a pee.  Not like, OMG I’m SOOOOOO DRUNK, peeing, but just normally.)

Thankfully we were able to scrounge up two buckets.  Otherwise, we would’ve had to stop the siphon, and start it again (yummy).  We also had another tube so we thought that if one was good, two had to be better, right?  Unfortunately, no matter how hard I sucked on the other one, nothing but little spatters would come up (mmm mmm good).  So, we figured we had it at least going, so it’s now time to move on to other stuff, since pouring this gas into his other car was going to be a two man job.

Next on the agenda was the spark plugs.  First we had to find the right tools, a 12mm socket to be exact.  Needless to say, since he has been to busy with other stuff (applying to schools, work, etc), all his tools weren’t arranged neatly in his toolbox.  I think one of the buckets actually filled up halfway while we were looking for the socket.

Being that this was the twin turbo model, there is about zero room under the hood for anything.  This makes getting the plugs out fun.  The first four are no problem, but the back two are buried under quite a few cables and hoses.  Hell, even on one of the easy ones he ended up dropping a bolt down behind the fan.  I did mention this that I’m doing all of this in my work clothes (khaki’s, button down, dress shoes), right?

Well, at some point while we’re doing the plugs, we decide that one of the buckets needs to be emptied into the Audi.  Of course, a simple funnel isn’t going to work, because it will overflow to the side.  Instead, we use not one funnel, but two and a hose to direct the gas into the filler neck.  We were going to just use the wide mouth funnel, but of course, the hose that we had wouldn’t fit onto the end of it, so we put the wide mouth funnel, inside the smaller funnel, and attached the hose to the smaller funnel.

Filled up the Audi, and we were back to work on the plugs.  Finished those up, and started working on that trim that we had gotten the silicon goo for.  Unfortunately, the trim didn’t fit in nicely, because, apparently, you’re supposed to remove the windshield first, and then the trim.  Needless to say, it was not done in that order.  With a little coercion, we see that we can get the trim to fit in nicely as a test before we goo it in.  Snip off the top of the silicon goo, drop a bead all along the crease, and attempt to put the trim back in just the way we had it before.  Needless to say, it’s not being nice unless we hold it in place.  I look at the back of the silicon goo package, “Clamp and let dry for one hour.  Permanent set in 24hrs.”  Great, there’s no way we’re holding it there for an hour, and it’s not like we can clamp it.  Oh well, it looks good.

Curious to see how much we’ve drained, we turn the ignition to the start position.  We are more than shocked to see it’s under half a tank.  Amazingly we are actually getting some where. 

A little bit later, Erin calls me to say goodnight, since I hadn’t been online all evening.  I ask her what time it is, and I was shocked to find out it was quarter till 11 already.  The bucket was getting full again, so we dumped it into the Audi, and let it go.  We checked the gas gauge again, and it was almost down to a quarter.  I tell him that once it reaches a quarter, just go fill it up with premium, and it’ll be fine.  He agrees that it’s not a bad idea, so we let a little bit more come out and dump it into the Audi.

After that, I get cleaned up a bit and headed home.  I’d hate to think of what kind of damage our brains took from having the gas fumes from the open buckets in the garage.  At least it was cold out, so sublimation wasn’t happening that fast.  However, I did wake up with a pounding head this morning…

Categorized as car

IPass part 2

This weekend was the first real test of the IPass holder.  It worked flawlessly as expected.  I stuck it on my car Thursday morning, and I’m happy to report that it’s still in the same spot.  The suction cup doesn’t even look like it’s straining. 

However, if I were to do it again, there would be a slight design modification.  Instead of wrapping the wire around the nipple, I would heat the wire with a lighter, and just stick it right through the nipple.  This would solve all of the current minor design flaws.  But, like I said, it works just fine the way it is, so I can’t really see myself doing that, unless I get really bored.

Oh yeah.  I also forgot to mention that the Skyway’s toll hasn’t gone up to $4 as was thought in a previous entry.  Instead, it is currently set at $2.50 (for the just the bridge that is).  Those rates went into effect on the 2nd of February.  I just took that way to head to MI this weekend, so I thought I’d share the info.

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