My wife and I were figuring out what kind of vehicle we should get next and came up with the following criteria:
All/Any Main Vehicle Must Haves:
* Navigation
* Blue Tooth
* Curt needs to fit
* Cruise
* Tilt & Telescoping Steering Wheel
* iPod Cable/Port
* Power Driver Seat
* Power Windows
* Fuel Economy & Oil Change Indicators
* Backup Sensors & Camera
* Driver Settings Set/Save
* 4×4/AWD
* Dual Climate Control
* Room for 6 people (including car seats and cargo)
* Towable behind RV

Curt’s Vehicle Must Haves:
* Leather
* Heated Seats
* Adaptive Cruise

Curt’s Vehicle Wants:
* Cooled Seats

Once we came up with the criteria, I had some thoughts…
* Would I be happy driving a car everyday?  No
* Would I be happy driving a mini-van everyday? No
* Do I need hard core off-roading capability?  No
* Do I need minimal off-roading capability?  Yes – Ground Clearance – Winter mostly

Heidi and I set out to find a vehicle that would be best for us. There are a variety of SUVs to choose from and the best place we found to try them all out was at the auto show. The quickest way to eliminate vehicles was to check them for towability behind an RV and roominess for me. Many fell short right away like Hondas, Toyotas, Hyundais, and all the luxury line models. It basically came down to the Dodge Durango, Ford Flex, and Ford Explorer. These all had three rows of seats and fit me nicely. When comparing cargo room though the Durango didn’t have much space behind the third row unlike the Flex and Explorer. My wife hates the look of the Flex but it was growing on me. We set out to maneuver in and around the interior of both vehicles.

From first glance, the Flex appears to be bigger and have more room but the more we looked at both it turns out that the Explorer was a better fit due to how easy the seats get out of the way and the amount of leg room for the third row passengers. The Explorer also has more features and feels more luxurious. We really liked the amount of space behind the third row of seats. We both liked the look and feel of the dash and dash buttons.

On the test drive of both the Explorer and Flex we found that the Explorer seemed to handle better and have more getup. A truly fun experience was using Adaptive Cruise for the first time. That feature is really neat. If you want more information on my Adaptive Cruise experience, just ask. In the end we picked the Explorer. Now we just need the cash to buy one. 🙂 If in the mean time Jeep comes out with a third row seat model, we will have to re-evaluate to see which is better.

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Ok, so I know that this isn’t about a car but I’ve had such a great experience with Logitech over the years that I decided I must write this review. For Christmas, my lovely wife bought me this keyboard cover for my iPad. I nearly instantly fell in love with it. I use it everyday with my iPad at work.

Time went on (about 3 months) and I still really love the keyboard. One day I noticed that a few keys on it didn’t seem to sync (the delete key, home button, t, y, & 3, keys) so I had to wait a while before they would start to work when I would initially turn the keyboard on. This slowly got worse until eventually I couldn’t get those keys to work at all. I tried all kinds of things like charging it, re-paring it with my iPad. Pairing it with my iPhone. Everything helped at least for a short time but eventually nothing I did enabled those keys to work so I contacted Logitech Support thinking I would be met with unreasonable requests, less than helpful folks, and a complete run-around as I had in the past with other companies like EA Games. What I found was a completely opposite response. Logitech support was amazing to work with. I really had a great experience. We exchanged a few emails and they quickly diagnosed the problem as a hardware failure. I gave them the information they needed from me and they sent me a new keyboard.

It wasn’t long and I was back up and running. In fact, I am typing this blog post using that new keyboard. Soooo much better now that all the keys work again! Thank you Roland from Logitech! You made everything right and my iPad usable again. I’ll continue to be a loyal Logitech customer for years to come and I hope my friends and family do the same.

I’m not that handy of a car person however on my Cougar the factory rear window tinting bubbled up so I needed to find a way to remove it. In my research, I found that it seemed the best way to do so would be to use a fabric steamer. Off I went to Target to get one. I found one that would allow me to maneuver around the back of the Cougar without too much difficulty.

I parked the car with the rear window facing into the sun. I started the steamer and began steaming off the tint. I wasn’t planning to put tinting back on so it was worth it to me to just do it myself.

The tint was really tricky to remove because of its age and wants to burst into little shards. The first thing I noticed was that it was incredibly easy to remove the tint however not really much of the glue was coming off. I knew I couldn’t use a razor on the back window because the chances of nicking the defroster wires was too great. Well, I got the tint removed with some close calls with nearly burning my fingers with too much steam. By far, that was the easiest part.

Now it came time to remove the glue. I put the steamer down and grabbed the Goo Gone. I have used that many times in the past on various things so I had high hopes. Not the case here. I worked on that glue for at least a half hour and only removed about a softball sized amount of glue. My fingers couldn’t take much more prolonged rubbing by this time so I went back to researching. What I found out was that I should have continued using the steamer after the tint was off to heat the glue past its melting point. So I did that. Back using the steamer I found that as the glue heated up I was able to wipe much of it off using a towel. I worked across the window and got a lot of the glue off. Again, back to the Goo Gone. Again, failure. In an hour’s time I completed about a foot of window. My fingers were sore and I didn’t know how I could continue.

Back to researching. People suggested plain normal Windex. It had to be the kind with ammonia. I thought that if Goo Gone didn’t work, how could Windex possibly help but I decided after hesitation to give it a try. Success! I was totally amazed. I applied the Windex to my paper towel and I swear I could almost see the glue dissolve. I didn’t have to hardly rub at all. I did find that after a couple minutes the ammonia in the amount I sprayed on my towel evaporated so reapplying often and replacing paper towels was needed frequently. In the remaining hour, I cleaned off the whole window and it was streak free to boot. 🙂

So here’s what I did that worked for rear window tint removal in 3 steps:
1. Use Fabric Steamer to remove tint.
2. Use Fabric Steamer and cloth towels to wipe most of the glue off.
3. Use plain, normal, blue Windex (with ammonia) to finish glue removal and to shine window.

Hello All,
It’s been a while since I’ve written. This post is a review for the Pontiac Bonneville GXP. For a long time I’ve liked the latest model of this vehicle. In college, my friend Tim and I would go and test drive Pontiac’s. What I notice the most about this car is the taillights. They are very distinct as you can see in this pic I found.

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The interior is also neat but very “Pontiac”. By that I mean it is real plasticy.

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The previous pic shows that plastic feel. There are buttons and knobs everywhere. Also, one of Pontiac’s downfalls is that these buttons and knobs tend to wear out quickly. I just test drove a GXP this last week with only 88k miles on it. What really makes the GXP trim is the Northstar V8 ported in from the Cadillac. Let me tell you, the way that engine sounds really is awesome! The foot pedal is easy to press down and the engine instantly responds. There’s an enjoyable roar and off you go.

The one I drove had problems already which I’d be disappointed with. The transmission had some play in it when starting from a stop and some of the radio digits were burnt out in the display. Also I noticed that when turning knobs, numbers are skipped and when you turn the ones like for the heads-up display, only a few positions seem to register.

The seats have lighter colored inserts which add a nice touch. I’m a bigger guy and with the front seat all the way back, I have plenty of room. My knees fall below the edge of the window and door switches so I don’t experience any pain from pressure points that vehicles similar to a Malibu or Camry have. I found the seats comfortable and especially the lumbar support. My wife was with on this test drive and we found that the lumbar support can be moved to practically any position which allowed both of us to find immediate comfort. The steering wheel has a real good feel to it.

The GXP has the heads-up display which displays your speed and turn-signals. There are plenty of air ports in the dash to adjust the air flow. There’s an air compressor built into the trunk. That’s a unique feature. The gauges and other creature comforts are illuminated with red lights.

You should know that 05 is the last year this model was made and Pontiac is no longer a car manufacturer. If you have any questions for me about this or other vehicles, let me know.

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Ah, the 1990 Mercury Cougar LS. Though it isn’t very popular or really popular at all anymore, I still hold a special place in my heart for this car. I now own one. Just purchased it a couple months ago from a guy at work. I’ve never named a car before that stuck but for some reason Candi really sticks this time. Yes, Candi with an “i”. Candi the Cougar. There’s many ways that can be taken and they probably are all true or proper ways to do so. It’s fun and she’s fun.

So, relating to Candi… Well, she’s blue. Navy blue that is. She is a Blue Max edition. What that means is that she has the special paint color, blue window tinting, a luggage rack, a Blue Max Edition badge, a red pinstripe around the outside and below that the navy blue paint variegates to a medium gray that looks rather sharp. She has a V6 which by today’s standards is really sluggish. To get her to move you have to really step on it but even then I bet Heidi’s 4 Cylinder Malibu can speed past. Candi doesn’t have all the features possible for the year but still have most. She’s lacking the automatic headlights and auto-dimming mirror. She also doesn’t have the vehicle information center which keeps track of fluid levels and when oil changes are due. The last thing she doesn’t have is the powered AM/FM antenna. Besides that, she has power locks, windows, steering, digital dash (so awesome), AC that works great, keyless entry and keyless entry pad, trunk popper, automatic seat belts, rear defrost, and interval wipers.

The reason I like this car so well is due to many factors. First, my grandma had the car when I was growing up. We had the opportunity to buy it when I got my driver’s permit however with the problem of having to store it for a year and it being too expensive for my parents at the time, we had to let it go. I have always loved the digital dash. There are 3 windows on the digital dash. The left-most one has the battery gauge, oil pressure, and engine temp. The middle one is for the speedometer, rpm gauge, and odometer. The right-most one is the fuel computer. It contains all kinds of information like fuel remaining, mpg, and trip meter. To me, the display is really cool. One thing I noticed is that the speedometer is much larger than on new vehicles and since it is digital, you don’t have to convert the needle to an actual speed. Another thing I like is the way the engine sounds and even the heater/AC blower motor sound.

Things that were in need of repair when I got Candi were the following… 4 digital dash lights were out. 1 heater control module light was out. There were a couple big oil leaks. The door and trunk gaskets were ripped and/or worn out. The rear window tint was bubbled up and needed removal. A fuse box lid was missing. The coolant reservoir was cracked and needed replacing.

I have resolved all of these problems myself except for the oil leaks.

I planned on keeping Candi for a while but with winter coming I decided to put her up for sale. After a few weeks of being online I sold her. Unfortunately a few days after she was sold, something happened and she quite working. Good timing on my part but bad for the new owner. I don’t know what the problem turned out to be but I would doubt Candi is still on the road.

This is the list of vehicles that I’ve owned in the order that I’ve owned them. I will continue to add information about the cars over time such as highlights. If you are interested in hearing more about a particular vehicle before I have a chance to write about it in its own article, let me know.

  1. 87 Plymouth Horizon
    * Highlights: 4 Cylinder, Dusty Blue
    * Owned Years: 1995-1998
  2. 89 Toyota Corolla FX
    * Highlights: 4 Cylinder, 5-Speed Manual, Dark Gray
    * Owned Years: 1998-2001
  3. 98 Plymouth Breeze
    * Highlights: 4 Cylinder, Forest Green
    * Owned Years: 2001-2002
  4. 97 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
    * Highlights: V8, Amethyst. Shouldn’t have gotten rid of it so soon. Looking back, it was beautiful.
    * Owned Years: 2002-2003
  5. 00 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
    * Highlights: V8, Silver
    * Owned Years: 2003-2006
  6. 02 Ford Mustang
    * Highlights: V6, Forest Green
    * Owned Years: 2005-2006
  7. 03 Dodge Dakota Sport Quad Cab
    * Highlights: V8, Black
    * Owned Years: 2006-2010
  8. 96 Toyota Camry DX
    * Highlights: 4 Cylinder, Forest Green, Took Over 200k
    * Owned Years: 2008-2009
  9. 00 Winnebago Brave
    * Highlights: V8. My first Class A RV. 33 feet long with 1 slide.
    * Owned Years: 2009-Present
  10. 02 Dodge Neon SE
    * Highlights: 4 Cylinder, Silver
    * Owned Years: 2010-2011
  11. 02 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
    * Highlights: V8, Silver, Engine blew after 3 weeks of owning. Only drove a total of 1 week over that time. Rest of the time it was in the shop. Dealer gave me a refund! I love Park Jeep!
    * Owned Years: 2010-2011
  12. 08 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
    * Highlights: V8, Red Rock (Burnt Orange)
    * Owned Years: 2011-Present
  13. 08 Chevrolet Malibu LT2
    * Highlights: 4 Cylinder, Black. The LT2 package must be some sort of dealer like option package as it isn’t recognized by banks or insurance companies.
    * Owned Years: 2011-Present
  14. 90 Mercury Cougar LS
    * Highlights: V6, Blue Max Edition (Blue Tinted Windows, Badge, Luggage Rack, Pin Striping), Navy Blue. My Dream Car from when I was 15.
    * Owned Years: 2013

Wanted to get a second post out tonight to have a couple items here for when you all start visiting. This post is about my second car. It was a 1989 Toyota Corolla FX. It was not my first choice of vehicle for college as at the time, I desperately wanted an 89 Pontiac Grand AM. It was the coolest car out there with all the buttons and options it had. Horribly unreliable though. This was of course after my infatuation with my Grandma’s 89 Mercury Cougar LS which had slipped through my fingers. More on that later…

Back to the Corolla. This car was what was nearly beaten into me as a reliable vehicle for college by my parents. An experience both them and I don’t want to repeat as there were many arguments over it in years to come but a learning exercise just the same. I put together all the money I had received from my high school graduation party and everything I had saved and wrote a check out for $750. That was the biggest check I had to write in my life at the time and it went to a really nice couple who wanted something family oriented now that they were going to have kids.

The Corolla had less than 100,000 on it and for the year, it was great! It didn’t need any work. It had AC and a rear window wiper as options but stock everything else. No power windows, air bags, locks, or anything else. Pretty stripped down but for reliability, that’s what you needed. It was a 5-speed manual which made the gas mileage better and cheap for me as a college student. It was a dark gray color and we found out later that it must have been repainted at some point to a lighter grey than the original. There was one rust spot at the time and it was on a front corner of the hood. My Dad and I Bondo’ed the hood and that’s when we found out that the paint was actually lighter than the factory paint option. In the end, we couldn’t match the paint so we painted a stripe across the hood and added a pin stripe. It looked cool. When I occasionally see one or pictures of one today, I don’t know how I could have thought that any part of that car looked cool.

It was a 2-door coupe and was super sluggish. At the time, Toyota had the option of getting the fuel injected engine or the carburetted one and again for reliability, it was carburetted. That car was in fact very reliable (thanks Mom and Dad!) up until the day it totally died. I drove it back and forth from college to home (a couple hours each way) on many weekends as well as carted my friends all around. I took it on long trips and used it for work internships. I was so surprised at hiw much the hatchback could hold! my whole dorm room fit in there. Well, almost. The Corolla never left me stranded anywhere and nothing ever broke. Well worth the money! One thing I did add to it was cruise control. I saved some additional funds from summer work and had an after-market one installed.

The Corolla FX’s demise came on the Friday before a 4th of July weekend on my way home from a day at the office as an intern the summer between my Junior and Senior year of college. A wire from the ignition fell onto the engine block and melted. When the short happened, it fried the car’s computer which in 2001 wasn’t available to purchase any longer. The repair shop investigated and found a $2500 solution (That’s what I remember it being. Maybe it was less.). With the repair being at least double what the car was worth, I sold it to the repair shop for $50. I believe it had around 150,000 miles on it. I remember when (because I’m a geeky engineer) the odometer turned 101010.1. That was so cool. I have yet to witness a car hitting that same reading since.