The Week Was Going Quite Well

After lunch today, I went to put a bag into my trunk, when I was greeted with a nice “FL” engraved into it.  Talk about a quick way to put me in bad spirits.  I mean, talk about a low thing to do, go around keying cars.  What’s really frustrating about it, is that this person actually took the time to write something in.

I swear, I never had any problems with the truck like this, and it definitely wouldn’t have bothered me nearly this much.  It was either some student walking back to their dorms (as I work right next to them), or someone where I live.  Honestly, I think it was someone where I live because that’s how my windshield was broken, and the kids that live there have a tendency to do a lot of crap like that.  The other day they were throwing rocks not 5ft away from the parked cars, etc.  Plus, there aren’t nearly as many people walking around.

I’m tempted to talk to my landlords about this, but again, I have no proof.  I just need to figure out the best way to fix it now.  I could use touch up paint on it, but then there’s the huge bulge which is almost always just as bad as the original mark.  Apparently there is goo stuff that can get rid of the bulge, but I haven’t tried it yet.  It was something I read on TDI Club.


Categorized as car

Affixing the IPass

The IPass comes with tape to affix it to the windshield to the car.  Actually, the tape is on the back of some heavy duty Velcro that’s then attached to the IPass.  Now, I don’t really want to get tape “goo” all over my window, so I figured I’d attempt to approach this problem differently; suction cups.

Yes, I know (now) that you can get a holder for the IPass that uses suction cups at Jewel.  However, I’d hate to think how much they’d actually charge for that, and I don’t have a Jewel near me.  Also, it’s a good engineering exercise. 

Last night, I swung by Hobby Lobby and picked up 2 50mm suction cups for $1.  I brought them home and started brainstorming with them and the IPass.  It turns out the industrial Velcro will actually grip on to a piece of wire that is run through it.  Well, this little exercise turned out to only take two minutes.  Now, all I need to do is swing by the hardware store and get some wire, wrap it around the suction cups nipple, and Velcro it into place. 

All in all, the project will probably cost me $2, which is probably the same, or less than the IPass accessory at Jewel would’ve set me back.  Plus, I can say that “I did it” and I have enough materials left over for another one (two cups in a package).

Categorized as car

In the Shop

Well, this is the first time my car has gone into the VW Service Dept.  Hopefully it will be go smoothly, and I won’t end up with more things broken than what I sent it in for. 

Last week we had some weird weather, and one of the side effects was a lot of ice buildup.  Well, I went up to Chicago last weekend and tried to roll down my window for the tolls.  It didn’t budge, frozen solid.  However, now when I go to roll it down (even though it’s not frozen), it makes this horrible sound like metal scraping the glass, and it just never goes down.  Quality.  I’ve read that this is a common occurrence, and actually pretty easy to fix yourself.  However, the car only has 10k miles on it, and so I really don’t want to deal with it.

So far, this has been the only problem I have had with the car.  Otherwise, it’s been great.  There are a few weird things about it though.  The number one complaint I have is the seat adjustments.  In most cars, the lever on the side of the seat is for tilt, not mine though.  Instead, that’s to raise and lower the seat.  To tilt it, you have to turn the nob at the joint.  Talk about a pain.  However, it never really effects me, since nobody else drives my car.  I just have to constantly remind new passengers, that want to fiddle with the controls, that they’re actually making the seat go up and down, not tilt.

However, this car definitely beats the pants out of my old truck.  Just the addition of cruise is, in my mind, heaven.  Then there’s the gas mileage.  Definitely a good purchase on my behalf.

And I just got a call letting me know that everything is finished.  Took less than 4 hours, I can’t complain.  Granted, I’m not in possession of the car yet, so I’ll still have to see about that.

Categorized as car


It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about Biodiesel, so I think now is a good time.  Anyways, the pursuit of making biodiesel has taken a back seat lately because of the lack of space in my apartment.  Plus, there’s the fact that the neighbors may think I’m making a meth lab or something. 

However, this weekend Maria “Mark” Alovert came through town, and I couldn’t say no.  So yesterday, I headed over to a fellow biodiesel enthusiasts house and had the class.  A lot of it was basically a review of what I already new.  Yet, we actually made some biodiesel, and she went through a bunch of tests that we should run on our own batches.

Damn, it was almost too easy.  I can’t believe I was actually waiting to make it.  Now, since it’s gotten colder, I’m probably going to start making smaller batches until I get it down to a sience, then start blending it in with regular diesel.  I figure any little bit will help, and this way I’ll be all set for when I setup my own large processor.

It’ll be nice, someday, to not have to pay $2+ a gallon, and superior fuel.

Fall Days

What wonderful weather we’ve been having.  Rainy, windy, cold.  Talk about a typical fall day where you just want to curl up next to the fire with a bowl of chili.  It’s quite funny walking around campus because you still see the people wearing shorts and tshirts.  It’s as though their mommies had to remind them to take a coat with them when it started to get chilly, and now that they’re here, they simply don’t.  Walking up and down the Quad watching them shiver always makes me chuckle on the inside.

The nice thing about these kinds of days, though, is that I can use my heated seats.  It’s great, because my car takes forever to heat up.  Since it’s a diesel, I simply can’t let it idle for a bit to warm up.  Now, since I’ve been parking aways from where my office is, I’ve been putting my coat on the passenger seat and turning on the seat warmer.  Then it feels like my coat just came out of the drier when I put it on.  Makes the walk much more enjoyable.  Now, if only they’d add a heating coil to the steering wheel.

Categorized as car

Driving Courtesies

Maybe driving is a thing.  I mean, Bree just had an entry about it, and now I will too.

First off, I don’t care if you’re the only person on the interstate, you do not need your hi-beams on.  I mean, seriously, is this so much to ask?  I love the people that have them on, and then “forget” to turn them off after you pass.  It’s almost tempting to turn off the cruise, slow down, get behind them, and let them know what it feels like.

Speaking of cruise, learn how to use it.  For the love of god people, it’s there for a reason, and that reason is not to just be there.  I suppose I’m super-addicted to cruise control.  I use it whenever I’m on the interstate.  As long as I can keep a steady speed, it’s on.  Just when I went up to Fort Wayne this weekend, I used it the whole way, even while driving through Indy.  Granted, it came off a lot more then, but still. 

I can’t fathom what goes through people’s heads that don’t use cruise.  I had a truck without it, my driving life was miserable.  So much so in fact that I barely left Champaign-Urbana because it was such a pain.  Nothing like having your leg fall asleep because you have to keep pushing the gas.  Plus there’s the fact that whenever I would hit a hill I’d have to watch the speedometer that much more carefully, especially when there were people around.  I always felt like a tool when I just passed someone, then hit a hill and slowed down a little, only to have the person I just passed, pass me.  Plus, it’s just annoying to constantly go, slow down, go, slow down, go, etc.  That’s supposedly the beauty of the interstate, it’s not city stop and go driving.  You’re supposed to be able to maintain a specific speed the whole way.  However, without cruise that makes it next to impossible.

I think I can summarize with:

If you’re not using cruise control, you’re not only doing a disservice to yourself, but everyone around you.

Categorized as car

Jetta Modifications

Well, I’ve already done my first “mod” on my Jetta.  Took me all of about 10 minutes to do.  My kind of mod.  What I did was called a Ventectomy.  What it does is increase your fuel tank by about 2 gallons, or, with my car, adds an additional 100 miles to your tank.  From the link above, you can see that you remove the venting mechanism of the gas tank.  Normally, in a gas car, when you fill up, this venting area is used because of the expansion and volitility of gas.  What this extra 2 gallon area does, is prevent your gas cap from blowing off during driving or while it’s sitting in the sun.  However, diesel doesn’t exhibit these features, so that extra 2 gallon tank goes to waste. 

In all actuallity, I didn’t have to remove the pieces, you can just press the button back as you fill up (preferably with the nozzle, because diesel is dirty).  However, this just makes it way easier.  Instead of having the little nub sticking out into the fuel line, there’s what looks like just another tube. 

With this mod, my tank will hold the same, if not a little more than my truck used to.  Ought to be interesting to be comparing them directly on tank size.  When I didn’t go on the freeways at all, I was lucky to get 300 miles to a tank with the truck.  I should easily be able to double that now. 

Speaking of gas mileage, the car has been awesome.  I’ve been averaging around 44mpg.  However, this last fillup, I didn’t do such a great job.  I only got 38mpg, my lowest yet.  This could be due to almost total city driving though.  No matter what, though, it’s way better than my truck was in about every single way.

Categorized as car

Happy Cherries

Well, I just filled up the Jetta today, 12 gallons of diesel.  That in-and-of-itself, isn’t such great news, right?  I mean, bleh, 12 gallons of stinky diesel.  However, the fact that I got 522 miles on that tank of 12 gallons is reason to cheer.  Yes folks, that’s right, that’s 43.5mpg.  Granted, that’s still about 5 or so lower than what I should get after the engine is fully broken in, that’s about 25mpg better than the truck ever got.  Plus, it has working a/c.  What more could a boy ask for?

Categorized as car

The Car Has Arrived

That’s right folks, I finally have my new car!  Holy cow, talk about worth the wait.  It’s just a smidge better than my truck: leather seats, sunroof, automatic windows, automatic door locks, a trunk, room for more than 2 people, etc.  Talk about fun to drive too.  When passing on 2 lane roads, I’ve got enough power in 5th to easily fly by people.  I think think was definitely a good buy.  I’m actually up in Ft. Wayne right now.  I spent the night at my friends house, and now I’m going to finish my journey up to Detroit.  I’ll probably update more about the car, and other things, from there, since I have yet to take it on the freeway (it was all highways between here and Lafayette).

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Still Waiting

Well, I still don’t have my car.  The salesman gives me, usually, daily updates about it, but there’s not much he can do.  Apparantly it hasn’t even arrived in the country yet.  However, as soon as it does, he having someone go get it at the other dealership for him, and then we’ll do our swap.  Man, I really hope it happens sometime soon, I’m so anxious to get it.  Good things come to those who wait though.

Categorized as car