Minivans are a better alternative to nearly all CUVs
Best posts made by atfsgeoff
RE: Which automotive hill(s) are you prepared to die on?
One year with S550 Mustang GT: Thoughts and Reflections
Top pic is from the day I brought it home.
I picked the car up with ~21,800 miles. Completely uncharted territory for me, this was my first and to date only motor vehicle I've bought from a dealer. It also cost almost 10x more than any of my other past motor vehicles. This purchase was a culmination of two decades of driving old hoopties and beaters, the very dregs of the automotive market. I was never in a financial position to even consider buying anything fast, late model, or at a dealer at all.
Then I found a new job that paid roughly twice what I was getting paid AND reduced my living expenses because it furnishes me with a company car, instead of having to commute at least 100 miles every day. This has considerably improved my financial situation, so after about 6 months at this job to make sure it was a good fit and I could stick with it long term, I said to myself: "Self, it's a bit early for a mid life crisis car, but if we don't pull the trigger on a late model sports car soon, it may never happen. The window to do this is now."
So down into the rabbit hole of car shopping I went. For the first time in my life I looked for a car of my choice, not one that happened to be within my price range. Don't get me wrong, I've had some great cars in my fleet over the years. But I didn't buy any of them specifically for their reliability, looks, performance, or other traits beyond asking price. Any other positive traits the car had were secondary factors only considered after price.
The Mustang was different, because I did my research on what kinds of sports cars were on the market with much less regard for cost; and I honestly cross shopped several different vehicles most wouldn't consider to be in the same category. Up for consideration were an ND Miata, S550 Mustang, C6/C7 Corvette, Cadillac CTS-V; I even entertained the notion of a 90s Dodge Viper for a hot minute.
In the end I decided on the Mustang for several reasons, mostly because I love the way they look, I've always been partial to Ford (though I have no delusions about some of the utter garbage they have churned out), and it ticked the right boxes for engine/gearbox/suspension. I won't lie, a rental Mustang breaking the Cannonball coast to coast record during the pandemic may have also played a roll in convincing me this was a solid choice.
The Mustang I found was about a 35 mile drive to an Acura dealership in Bridgewater, NJ that happens to specialize in used sports cars. No joke, they had nine V8 S550 Mustangs in stock, including two GT350s. And that was just one row of an entire level in a parking garage dedicated to sports cars. I had my pick of the litter. I chose mine because it had the only options I wanted: 6 speed manual and Handling/performance pack. I didn't want any of the other option packages or an automatic. The GT350 was tempting but they wanted about $20k more than I was willing to spend so... that one got away.
Anyway, after signing my life away for the next three years, I drove it home and started to familiarize myself with it. This car was lightly modded by the original owner, with Eibach Sportline lowering springs, an MGW short throw shifter, and Flowmaster American Thunder catback exhaust and a Ford Racing X-pipe replacing the midpipe resonator section. I researched all this before purchasing the car so went into the deal fully informed.
Since I bought it, I've added a UPR oil catch can, Steeda jacking rails, and swapped on 18x9.5" Apex EC-7 wheels, which saves considerable unsprung rotating mass at all four corners, and makes the setup square so I can rotate them for improved treadlife. The wheels also facilitate thicker sidewalls which aids in soaking up the moon craters we Pennsylvanians call potholes.
The car just ticked over 30,000 miles, so I've put 8k on it over the past year, including a trip to North Carolina and one to Michigan. Those trips combined were about 2500 of those miles. It has been trouble free, no CELs or mechanical troubles aside from a very very minor coolant leak coming from one of the hoses going to the factory oil cooler. And by minor I mean it has just enough weepage to see a drop beginning to form at the bottom of the hose, not enough to even drip onto the belly pan under it. I have a replacement ready to go for when I flush the coolant in a year or two. I'll keep an eye on it in the meantime, as the hose is right near the oil filter so I will see it regularly.
So over those 8,000 miles, what is my takeaway? I love this car, the only thing that I still want to change about it is maybe put in a slightly quieter exhaust. Ideally I'd like to put in an active exhaust system so it can be loud when I want it to be loud but quiet the rest of the time, particularly for long trips. There are options available for this, but good active systems are a couple grand, and I'd rather put that money toward paying off the car before I go modding willy-nilly.
The car is fast, particularly in the twisties. It's not very quick off the line; being a manual it loses a lot of time between shifts and needs to be pushed pretty hard just to outrun an XSE Camry from a stoplight. But if I just wanted outright speed, I would have gotten the automatic. The stick makes the car so much more entertaining and enjoyable to drive. Despite horror stories about the MT-82 gearbox from owners (last I checked there is a pending class action lawsuit over defects), I find it to be a fine transmission, if a bit notchy when trying to shift very quickly. If you work with the gearbox and take your time shifting, it's smooth as butter. The twin plate hydraulic clutch is great, very progressive take-up, and light pedal. The car apparently has an upshift rev match feature that took me awhile to notice: It will hang the revs after clutching in, to where the next highest gear rpm will be for a very smooth upshift. It's also easy to blip the throttle for rev matched downshifts.
Where the car really performs is in cornering. Between the lowering springs and the sticky rubber (I put Bridgestone Potenza S007As on it), she can pull over 1 lateral G. By far the grippiest setup I've ever personally driven. I still haven't turned the traction control off yet, because Mustang gonna Mustang, but I'll get there eventually in a controlled environment. The regular traction control actually lets you rotate the car a decent bit before kicking in so it hasn't hampered my fun at all. Haven't used the factory line-lock feature yet, but I do have the original rear tires still mounted on the OEM wheels that need a proper send-off one of these days, so it'll happen eventually.
More mundane aspects of living with the car: It does have folding rear seats so you can fit surprisingly long luggage in it. Despite the lowering springs, it soaks up broken pavement pretty well. The car still gets over speed bumps and can take reasonably steep driveways without issue. It gets 26-28 mpg on extended highway trips, and about 18mpg around town. I've been averaging 22 overall, even with an occasional lead foot. The car happily cruises at any speed between 55 and 120. Cruise control won't go above 120, but that's ok because you can just use some foot throttle to go faster if the situation allows. This is a great car for long highway trips because it just eats up the miles very quickly. Top speed is limited at 160 mph, but it's got a lot more in it if the limiter is disabled. I'll probably wait awhile before having that removed, I rarely get a safe opportunity to take it to 160 as it is.
The engine is a gem. So much low end torque, I can cruise around in 5th at ~35 mph. Never have to shift above 1800 rpm if I'm just loafing around town. Granted the Coyote isn't known for its low end torque, but it is still a 5.0l V8, so while it's no LS, it's still more torque than any vehicle I've owned. Even more than the 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V I owned, with a gigantic 460 V8 that only put out 210 net hp and 357 lb ft of torque in factory tune. The engine happily and eagerly revs to 7400 rpm, peak power being made just under 7k. It takes 2-1/2 gallons of oil in the crankcase.
So in conclusion, despite being the second most expensive purchase I've ever made, I have no regrets. I intend to keep the car for at least five years, then evaluate if there's something that fits my life better at that time, probably around 2025. Might look for a used CT5-V BlackWing as a replacement. Time will tell. Or I might keep it and go down the power adder/modding hole, putting a supercharger on it and swapping out the MT-82 gearbox for a Tremec Magnum XL for increased power handling. Or I might just keep it as-is and run it to 200,000 miles. Naturally aspirated, manual gearbox V8 cars are going extinct, so this may well be the only one I ever own. And there's charm in that.
Enough Wants. Here's a Have.
So I was drilling a hole into a tree stump to pour stump killer into it when my 35 year old Bosch 1/2" drill wrenched itself out of my hands while simulteneously wrapping its own cord around its trigger and then catching said cord in between the chuck and body, subsequently ripping the cord to shreds. I like this drill, so instead of going out and spending $100+ on a high quality 1/2" corded drill with torque for days to replace this thing, I decided to cannibalize an old Harbor Freight drill I bought years ago for one specific job, and use its cord.
It was easy taking this Bosch apart since it is very much designed to be serviced and repaired, although the trigger assembly was a bit tricky to pull apart. I tinned the ends of the HF cord to match the tinned ends of the shredded one.
After carefully reassembling the trigger group with intact spring contacts, I slipped the rubber cord relief onto the new cord, pushed the two leads into the trigger group, reassembled the drill, and voila, working drill once again.
Doing what I can with what I have. No extra money spent, no shipping required, took less time than it would have to drive to the store and buy a new drill, and drive back.
Latest Member of the Bronze Wheel Club
Took six months of waiting but they finally came in. Got my waiting tires mounted and balanced this morning, and then spent the next hour heaving heavy things around to put them on the car and store the old ones in the basement.
Went from 255/40R19 on 19x9 Front / 275/40R19 on 19x9.5 Rear (staggered oem wheel and tire setup) to 275/45R18 on 18x9.5s for all four corners.
Original tires are Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, new ones are Bridgestone Potenza S007A. I got a screaming closeout deal on them so saved a lot of money despite all the reviews saying they are roughly comparable in grip to the PS4Ss. Might not have quite as high a tread life though. We'll find out.
First road impressions: The bigger, meatier tires with taller sidewalls definitely have a bit more cush to them, and turn-in isn't as immediate or crisp. BUT the new tires soak up bumps better and maintain a better contact patch through broken pavement in corners, and provide objectively more grip at least in acceleration. Used to be I would spin the tires through 2nd gear and into 3rd. With the new Bridgestones, 2nd hooks immediately and stays hooked. I haven't pushed it suuper hard into corners yet so that's an unknown but I expect it will want to oversteer a little bit more because the fronts are wider than stock. I'll report back eventually to let you know how at-the-limit dry traction is in lateral loading, as well as wet traction.
Saved 6.5 lbs per front corner!
I haven't weighed the OEM rears yet but they're at least another 7-8 lbs over the fronts, so probably about 14 lbs of saved rotational/unsprung mass in each rear corner.
RE: If this ends up the norm, it will ensure that I never buy another new car again
You will own nothing and you'll be happy about it, Comrade
PSA: Pep Boys is closing their retail stores, 50% off everything
I stocked up on enough oil to Last 5 Years
The Ultimate (production) Bench Vise
I recently learned that Fireball Tool is taking preorders for this 270 lb behemoth bench vise, the first batch of them being scheduled to ship out in April of 2022. $1500, with a $100 refundable deposit to secure a preorder.
"But $1500 is insane for a bench vise," you may say. Well it's roughly the same cost as a new Wilton 600S which is probably the closest competitor to this in terms of new machinist vise production. And the Fireball Hardtail is nearly twice the mass, opens 4" further, and will probably tolerate a much higher clamping force given its innovative main screw design.
Maybe I'm a weirdo for appreciating these types of indestructible simple machines, but this is a prime example of an heirloom quality product that you rarely see manufactured anymore. Adjusted for inflation, it is actually cheaper than a similarly-massive 8" machinist vise from 100 years ago. Compare to the Reed 408, which was $105 in the 1920s:
$105 in 1921 dollars is roughly $1600 in 2021 dollars. So yeah it's pretty spot on. And the new vise has a more robust design, not to mention improvements in metallurgy and casting.
God help me, I'm about to spend (what was until recently) used car money on a bench vise
It's not a big motorcycle, just a groovy little motorbike
Helped a friend buy a new 2021 Super Cub today. Of course it rained. He still rode it 7 miles in traffic. For someone who's never been on a motorcycle in traffic before, he did great. Still needs to work on his shifting till it becomes second nature.
This groovy little motorbike is such a blast. Takes a bit of getting used to the unusual shift pattern that has neutral at the bottom instead of between 1st and 2nd, but after adjusting to that, it's great. Feels closer to a bicycle in terms of nimbleness and agility. 240lbs wet/ready to ride.
It's apparently way easier for my friend to handle than my '04 KLR650, which he dropped several times while trying to figure out the clutch work at the same time as learning how to shift, during low speed maneuvers.
Latest posts made by atfsgeoff
RE: How do you make grocery shopping into an adventure?
@krustywantout Gives you an opportunity to brush up on low speed maneuvering in the urban sprawl and parking lot complexes.
There's just something super fun about taking any moto up and down a multi story parking deck too. Highly recommend A++
RE: Been a long wait
UPDATE: First range trip, 120 rounds across four Lancer L5AWM mags. Two failures to fire, dud primers. No other malfunctions. Using super cheap Tula steel case .223.
The Holosun red dot was perfectly set from the factory, no adjustment needed for 100 yard zero. I was ringing a medium size steel silhouette at that range pretty consistently.
This is a 25 meter simulated-distance silhouette target that I made 58 hits at. The bottom right target has only 8 shots, the other five have 10 each. I was getting a little impatient and losing some accuracy by that last target with only 8 shots on it, which is why the group opened up. Nonetheless, I'm happy for a first outing with my first AR. The rifle is definitely more capable than I am at the moment.
RE: I really like this bike
@ibrad my 3 things for a new bike...
1: under 500cc
2: less then 10 years old
1: more motor = more power and more weight. not good to start
2: you want to be able to find parts if/when you inevitably drop it. You will not be able to find body panels for this.
3: EFI because fuck carbs. you need to learn to ride around them and as a new rider, you have enough on your table as it is. Carbs can be fun. As a new rider, you dont really want fun, you want consistant so that you can learn.
middle aged dude with 1/2 a head on your sholders, get a cbr 500 with ABS and learn to ride, then look for the funky cool shit.
I honestly think low seat height and low center of gravity are more important than overall weight, for a beginner bike. Also power delivery and engine characteristics are more important than displacement. I often recommend the Honda NC700/NC750/CTX700 to new riders because they are so docile in power delivery. Plus they are available with a DCT for people who want to learn moto but have zero experience with clutches. Or someone interested in a cruiser could easily find something in the 700-1100cc range that's still easy to learn on, hell my first bike was a Virago 1100. No regrets there.
I absolutely agree on the EFI part. Fuck carbs up their stupid asses.
RE: I just saw a Mirai
@atfsgeoff Well, that would certainly explain it
Yeah. That guy is weird but very intelligent and highly motivated. I've been to his hydrogen house project and he legit runs everything off grid with solar panels and uses hydrogen as the energy storage medium. He has a gas stove that runs off hydrogen (he dopes it with some kind of metal to give it color since pure hydrogen burns almost invisibly), all his household water is molecularly-pure water from hydrogen fuel cell/combustion byproduct, and he has a bunch of neat power tools that run on fuel cells too.
RE: I just saw a Mirai
@atfsgeoff As I believe the nearest hydrogen station is across the COVID Curtain in Ontario, I have no idea how that even happened. Is the guy producing the stuff at home?
It had a NJ plate, it may well have been Mike Strizki's car. Was the correct color
RE: Automotive Stonks
@kingt I bought 25 shares of Ford @ $5.34 per share back in March or April of 2020, so $133.50
Right now my shares are worth $405.75, just a bit over 3x what I invested. I'm quite pleased with that.
On the other hand, I also bought 20 shares of Subaru at $10.44 and they're hovering around $9.98 at the moment a year and a half later, so I'm down about $10 there.