Posts Tagged ‘car’

Mini Van

Posted: 15/01/2012 by Toby in Uncategorized
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As we have blabbed to anyone who will listen, our Honda Odyssey we had when we lived in the States was the best car ever. It had so many nice things that we liked, and we haven’t been able to find the equivalent.

Well, we just got ourselves a whole lot closer to what we had. It’s not exactly the same, and it has a few more bells and whistles that we probably don’t need, and the driver and passenger door are much more chunky, and there’s woodgrain throughout (yuck), but it has plenty of the nice things we really liked, and which the Volvo simply cannot provide. With the arrival of Rocky, the Volvo suddenly felt much more cramped (to me anyway), so I became adamant that we needed to swap to something else.

1) We like the siliding doors since that prevents the kids from opening their doors onto other cars. We also like the fact that usually the sliding doors are remote.

2) We like leather seats. The Volvo had this, true, but we also like the ability to recline the seats. That the Volvo did not do at all, only the front two, but nothing for the 2nd and 3rd rows.

3) Adjustable height seatbelts. Probably sounds minor, but it’s nice to have when the seatbelt is not hitting your shoulder in the right place.

4) Folding seats. The Volvo folded down flat in the back and this was good. The new car, all of the seats fold down, to create a large bay which would probably accomodate 2 full size couches.

5) Tow bar. The Volvo has a weak transmission, and because of this, it’s not a good idea to tow anything with it. Now that we have a tow bar on our new car, we’ll eventually get a trailer, and anything else we can stick on there, like a bike rack.

Need less to say I am super excited about our new car, even if it screams “soccer mom” I don’t care. I was reading recently in the book ‘All Marketers are Liars’, Seth Godin says the minivan is a very good practical car, despite the stigma that many people have associated with it – and I agree. And my Uncle Mike would agree. I remember being surprised by his choice of vehicle when he visited our family in 1992 driving a simple Dodge Caravan, and he was only a single guy (still is).

So there’s the picture. It’s a Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited.

In Australia this car is classed as a luxury car, and as such, if we bought this baby new, it would be an extra $1,000 in tax since only rich people would buy it, and another grand wouldn’t make any difference to them. Interesting side note, they now only import the diesel version as of 2010. This one is a 2008 back when you could still get a V6 and this car is a V6. Again, it does have a few bells and whistles that we probably don’t need, like automatic folding rear seats, DVD players for 2nd and 3rd row, cordless headphones, window shades for all the back windows, sunroof, self adjusting suspension for towing, alloy wheels, and the list goes on.

Here’s the strange bit though. We’ve bought this car privately (a little nerve racking, since you never really know who you’re dealing with) and it’s been quite a process to get the loan (not too bad really and a good interest rate thanks to some very nice people at the Credit Union) and then a process to get the money to the right place with the other family. As of right now, their lending company has not released the car, so the owner agreed to drive it here, but didn’t leave the keys. He’ll send the keys when the lending company gives the a-ok. Why wasn’t the check made out to the lending company in the first place? That’s a very good question. Strangely enough, when the CU did the title search, it came up as no encumberances, i.e. the lending company didn’t come up as the lien holder, so the check was made out to the seller only.

Whew what a hassle. But it’s only a few more days.

Then we get to be the seller. Anyone want a well cared for Volvo XC90??

Spider Removal continued

Posted: 24/08/2010 by Toby in Informative
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To change out a side mirror on an XC-90, you will need:

1. A replacement side mirror, hopefully of the same year make and model as your car.
2. A ratchet wrench, with a ½ inch socket.
3. A 6-point tip, as pictured. This is not a hex, but a six point, a funky little shape. I’m not even sure how these suckers are sized, so unless you already know what size, you might want to get a little set, just to be safe. Nothing like building up the old toolset anyway, right?

Now that you have all the gear, it’s time to start ripping! First, I’d like to acknowledge the instructions I obtained before I even started out. There are a few (very few) sets of instructions out there for the XC-90, and probably for other models as well, they can be found here. (website reference to be added later)

First, I turned the car off completely. The instructions told me to do this.

Then, I removed the little triangle that sits just opposite the side mirror on the inside of the door. It came off with a little prying (there’s nothing holding it on but a few bits of plastic and hope). Behind it there’s a bit of foam with a hole pattern that matches the bits of plastic. I disconnected the grey plug from the little speaker.

Then I removed the silvery handle. It literally just lifted out with a little prying.

I put these pieces in a safe place.

Next, there were two screws behind that silvery handle. These had to come out with the six-point tip. I used a regular old screwdriver with a ratcheting action.

After the screws were out and in a safe place – like the cup holder in the middle console – I pulled the panel off by prying the edges with my fingers. The edges are only held on by plastic nipples like these:

After the panel was off, I pulled out the plug that was going in where the window switches were while holding the panel. It’s not a heavy panel, and I managed to hold it with one hand along the top, and with the other hand remove the plug.

When the panel came off, the cable connected to the door lock came loose, and the rod going up from the lock was hanging free. That would have to be positioned in the hole at the top of the panel when I put the panel back.


I disconnected the wires coming from the side mirror, which power the motors – a green plug.

Finally, I could get out that ratchet and take off the nut holding the side mirror. There’s only one. After the nut was off, I pulled the mirror away, and the wires for the internal motors slid out easily through a square hole, which happened to be the exact shape to let the green plug through. The door without the mirror looked like this:

Then I simply reversed the whole process to get the new side mirror back on, and voilá! I was done!

3 Christmases

Posted: 24/12/2009 by Toby in Gigi, Informative, TJ, William
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What a week it has been!

First we had a Tuesday event at Uncle Gregg’s and Auntie Mel’s,

then we had Christmas Eve dinner and presents here at Gran and Granddad’s,

then we had some more present opening today, on Christmas morning!

Pictures to follow…

The Beastie – Earl

Posted: 15/06/2009 by Toby in News, Pictures
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We are now the owners of a 1993 Toyota Camry Stationwagon. Grey in colour with a purple undertone :) We paid a whopping $3200. We’ve been told these Camry’s are good cars and keep on going forever, lets hope so at 155,000 kilometres. Seems an old lady had it last. That said the last car I had after an old lady actually earnt me money, so I shaln’t complain.

At this point I should mention that I never expected to be an owner of this type of car in my life. But alas, thus the time has come. We are a family of 5 and just fit in, with some space in the back for strollers etc….. It fits our budget for starting from scratch and will keep us humble.

I picked her up on Friday and couldn’t help myself, by making mention to the car yard employees that I was astounded, at how they had no regard for their workplace by littering cigarette butts all over the ground everywhere, is it really that hard to make a bin available to put them collectively in? I said what ever happened to pride in your workplace. Not much came back in response! A few shoulders strugging. Lets just say the car yard employees went right along with the price range they were selling, cheap!

That said I feel it’s important to learn to love her, I mean him and give Earl the love and respect he deserves so he’ll treat us well and take car of us whilst we have him. I don’t know why but normally I think of cars as being female, but this car is definitely a man.

Today whilst TJ and I were out on errands we made a stop at a pick-n-take store, where I managed to pick up two small screw covers that were missing from the passenger side doors arm holders and a switch/button for the radio/cassette player (all free), yep she’s still got a cassette in her. I am tempted to see if it still works. I still have some of my old tapes.

Anyone remeber “Bounce Back” a Mormon advertising tape given out in Australia at least in the 80’s, love that tape. It actually came up in conversation since I’ve been home and my sister is already hassassing me for a copy of it. My very first cassette was “the Nolan Sisters” it was a compilation of songs from various artists song by them. I guess I’ll have to wait till the shipment comes in to give those a go, I will make sure to start with a tape I don’t car about first, just in case it gets chewed up. I did price getting a more modern cd player put in, but just for a point of reference for now, not exactly a priority, the radio works. I learned today from the radio that you can claim all your kids schooling needs as a tax reduction. I made a note to tell Toby that one so to be make sure we do it when the time comes.

Earl allows us the chance to break out and visit friends, not harrass my parents to get places and just get some plain old independence.

Yep Earl’s his name!

There’s a Hole in My Heart

Posted: 04/05/2009 by Toby in News
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My black Civic has been sold and I feel like crying.  Literally.  It’s not very manly I know, but I have had that car for 10 years from the time she was a frisky new puppy to now, she’s a seasoned veteran of the road.  She and I have been through so much together, I’ve logged at least 150 of the 159,000 miles she had.

She went to our neighbor’s aunt’s kid, a teen who’s incredibly spoiled to be getting such a nice car for his first wheels.

Civic on the block

Posted: 22/04/2009 by Toby in Other
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My beautiful car is now up for sale on craigslist. We’ve already got 2 responses, and we only just posted the listing tonight. I had planned on putting it on, but if it sells this quick, all the better for us I suppose.

Here’s the listing in case you’re interested:

But I just want to express publicly how much I’ll miss my little black car. I’ve been almost 160,000 miles with my foot on her gas pedal, and she’s run wonderfully well. Don’t look at me just now, it’s obvious I’ve been chopping onions recently.

Never Open…..

Posted: 27/02/2009 by Toby in Informative, News
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your car door so as to bang into another car, always hold your door and open it carefully. This is what my father taught me from a young age. So far I’ve done pretty good, only banged once and that was my own door into a wall, no real damage.

Well this week I had the experience of having my beautiful Odyssey banged into for the upteenth (meaning: many) time. It was a windy day and so I was grappling with the idea of whether to keep shopping or not. I decided to make it a quick one. I parked further away than normal so as to prevent another car from parking next to me. Before I even hoped out of my car or got the kids, a car parked next to me. I started thinking I’ve obviously not parked far enough away 5 empty spots wasn’t enough. I went to start the car once more and move it further away when the woman opened her door and bang………

Rolling my eyes… I hop out of my car and go and take a look yep… maroon paint scraped up half of my door. I then spent the next hour in freezing winds trying to get this woman to give me her insurance details and her name, with no luck…. She proclaimed she needed to talk with her husband first, then she said it wasn’t her car, it was a friends car, then it was her husbands car and then at that point I had to explain to her that in case she wasn’t aware, when you marry a person what is his is hers, and vise versa….

I then went onto explain to her that if she doesn’t hand over the information that I’ll have to call the police. In the end she agreed that calling the police was the best option because I might cause more damage to my car to make her pay for it. I said yeah.. that’s exactly what I like to do with my time is cause more damage to my own belongings. When the police arrived she told the woman that by law she had to give me her information, and went to leave I expressed to the police woman that I’d been standing here with her now for over an hour and she’s not given me her information I’d appreciate her staying until she has indeed done it. She agreed and actually got her to give her the info and she wrote it down for me. When the police woman said to the woman is this your vehicle and your insurance she replied “yes”!

And she was concerned about me being dishonest!!!!!!!!

The good news is that upon getting home within an hour my insurance called me and told me she had called and admitted fault and that she was wanting to find out when I’d like to get my car fixed, I said well when do you have available, she said starting tomorrow, I said fine, tomorrow is good. So on Tuesday my car went in to get fixed and repainted. I got a free rental car for the duration and was able to pick up my van Wednesday afternoon.

Not only were all her marks gone, but thanks to a professional unit and wanting to provide a good service, they fixed all the other ones also from all the other people. I was most impressed and excited to see my car back in pristine condition.

The sad part about having a nice car is to keep it in a perfect condition one had better forget even taking it out of the garage altogether, that is if you have one! Sadly that misses the whole point of the conveneince of owning a car.

I was thankful the woman came through in the end and impressed with Geico’s service in fixing the problem ASAP…

The rental car we got was a Town and Country – Chrysler

The colour was fine (white), and the pick up was good, I did like the tako’s and the fact the radio brought up the name of the songs as they played on it’s digital reader, but overall I wasn’t impressed with the van. The seats were blah… I sat so high in the thing I felt like I was going to bang my head and I am short, a tall person I doubt would fit in at all. I had troubles getting the petrol cap off, the windows were a lot smaller so the views were not as good, and it felt very boxy. Boxy can be good in some situations but I wasn’t a fan, looking back from the front seat it felt almost like a utility van for commercial purposes not a family van.