CCClarke

Registered
  • Content count

    21
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by CCClarke

  1. Actually, the CT6 for the Chinese market IS built in China, and its softened-edges look is more Euro. The Chinese would levy import taxes on it there, making it cost-prohibitive to ship from the US. The new PHEV CT6 is also built there with small numbers to be exported, since GM expects the North American market to be weak for this car. Kind of interesting how imbalanced the trade equation is, right? (For now.) Since its (delayed) introduction last Spring, CT6 US sales are and have been anemic, despite a robust advertising campaign. Sales have yet to surpass the car it was intended to replace (the XTS.) In fact, the XTS outsold it more than 2:1 in Nov '16. Nearing the end of it's production life, the XTS has been slated for continued production and will undergo a major refresh. I've read numerous posts from prospective owners who looked at both cars and chose the XTS due to it's more comfortable ride, (subjective) and lower price when fully-loaded. If Cadillac upgrades the XTS with the CT6 Night Vision option, (which owners seem to like) and a larger CUE scree like the one found in the CT6, it could pull even more sales away from the CT6. Major complaints with the CT6 are directed at its flaky 8-speed transmission and Stop/Start fuel-saving system, which has been on European cars for years. Eventually, US drivers will get used to it, or someone will sell a bypass kit for cars that don't have that option. The big sales for Cadillac are resting on its forthcoming smaller CUV/SUV models. Luxury sedan sales are lackluster, especially with ATS/CTS. The XT5 and Escalade are strong sellers, reflecting market trends. CC
  2. After moving to New England from the west coast and using my XLR as a daily driver on all but the worst days, I decided it was time to quit borrowing my wife's AWD vehicle for weeks at a time, and get one of my own. Of course, it goes without saying --it had to be a Cadillac, so I began my search in earnest online. I don't buy cars as often as a lot of my friends, so I put in a ridiculous amount of time researching a potential vehicle to ensure I'm satisfied with my purchase. When the XTS debuted, I checked one out during a dealership visit. I was more than impressed by the interior -arguably, the best GM has ever executed. Knowing Cadillacs depreciate to around 50% of their MSRP within four years, I started looking for a 2013 XTS. Thankfully, (for buyers) the XTS reached the 50% mark in three! I was greatly aided in my decision-making by the many XTS forum posts available. Generally, owners post to complain or seek help with problems. With 2013 being a first-year production model, I was kind of apprehensive, so the posts were a big part of my research. Luckily, the re-occurring problems noted were few and minor. Firmware updates fixed many of them. I flirted with the idea of having a sportier and more compact CTS, but the newer, XTS-style interior is just now available for that model, and as we all know, Cadillac pricing has gone way up in the last five years. An older, less expensive CTS couldn't compare with the newer interiors. I owned a CTS-V for seven years, and while it was comfortable and fast, it lacked the smooth-riding refinement I was in the market for in my present situation. For those of you spoiled by smooth, well-maintained roads, it takes some getting used to here in the NE. You risk traumatic brain injuries and loose fillings anytime you leave the garage to venture out on the open road here. Driving an XLR in New England is a lot like riding inside a stagecoach, --only a low-riding stagecoach with greater HP and fewer flies. The roads are mined with varying depths of potholes, just waiting to destroy your wheels and wreak havoc with suspension components. Other assorted bumps, seams, and uneven road joints make for a terribly noisy and uneven ride. The XLR has the innate ability to magnify all of them. After five, long months of online research to gauge pricing trends and checking out a number of vehicles in different trims and colors, I found the XTS I was searching for at a great price. The car was well-cared for and it's service history was uneventful. A six-year, 70,000 mile CPO warranty gave me peace of mind. The biggest surprise during the test drive was my wife commenting how much she liked the car -- she cares as much about cars as I do about thread count in sheets, so this was a very, very encouraging sign. After a month of ownership, I'm delighted with the car. It has enough bells and whistles to keep veteran shuttle pilots satisfied. The suspension soaks up the bumps and interior noise suppression is instantly noticeable at highway speeds. This is probably the quietest vehicle I have ever ridden in, excluding a few nuclear submarines. The fourteen-speaker Bose sound system has to be one of the best factory stereos I've enjoyed listening to; the spacious volume of the interior compliments the acoustics, along with the microfiber roof liner. To paraphrase Pink Floyd, steering wheel feedback is comfortably numb, but the handling is just fine,-- with a hint of under-steer if you push it. It does take some seat time getting used to it since the car is actually much more capable than it initially leads one to believe. I take corners I regularly traverse at the same speeds as the XLR with total control, but it took some convincing without the steering and suspension feedback I'm used to. The Manual (sport) mode tightens up the shocks and offers paddle shifting, but this isn't a sporty car by any stretch of the imagination (even when outfitted as a VSport model.) It's a well-mannered, aerodynamic, luxo barge stuffed with lots of technology. The CUE system surprised me, (in a positive way) since I read so much negative feedback regarding its operation. To be fair, it raises distracted driving to a whole new level, but the majority of the settings don't need to be adjusted once they're configured. The most frequent adjustments I make (volume control, track change) can be easily performed via the steering wheel-mounted controls. The voice commands cover a lot of the rest. With the latest firmware updates, the Natural Voice Recognition software works surprisingly well, --though you do have to sit through some long-winded verifications as commands or command options are repeated to you. The haptic feedback from the display screen and front panel controls does a good job of informing you your command was acknowledged. Some reviewers were dissatisfied with the CUE system speed, but I honestly haven't had in issue with it. Based on what I've read, and experienced first-hand, I think a lot of the nay-saying CUE reviewers didn't take the time to learn (and live with) the system (and it does take a few days -or weeks, depending on how much prior iOS time you have under your fingertips) before throwing stones at it when they wrote their reviews. The majority of the online gripes I read are due to operator error. As someone once explained to me, "You have to be smarter than the equipment you're operating." The CUE display resolution is much more refined than most of the other automotive information systems I've viewed. The vibrating safety seat is a great idea. It's unobtrusive, so none of your passengers have a clue that you almost side-swiped that semi in your blind spot when you were about to make a lane change. . . Sometimes ignorance is indeed bliss. The exterior and interior lighting looks sharp. Approach the XTS at night, press the fob's Unlock button, and a programmed LED light show begins. Expect to receive a lot of positive feedback from first-time passengers. The lighted exterior LED door handles are a nice touch too. First-time passengers never know what to pull, push, or yank when trying to enter or exit an unfamiliar car; the XTS has strategically-placed lighting to eliminate any doubt. Once everyone is seated, and the doors are shut, the ambient lighting dims, --much like you would experience in a theater, to a pre-set level. The effect casts a warm glow throughout the interior and adds to the luxury atmosphere of the car. Kudos, GM lighting design gurus. Engine performance is more than adequate, but not mind-blowing fast. This is a V-6 after all, but it's tuned to similar HP output from prior NorthStars. The V-6 rewards by sipping regular fuel, and delivering better gas mileage. It doesn't have the low-end pull of a V-8, so you have to wait until the RPMs get higher to feel the acceleration start to come on. If you feel the need for speed, a twin-turbo VSport is available in the Premium and Platinum trim levels. Before I experienced one on a daily basis, I always thought a Heads-Up Display was a novelty. After enjoying the HUD in the XLR for eight years, I'm hooked, so this was a deal-breaker for me. I'm happy to report the latest version as found in the XTS is much improved, and reconfigurable too! That brings up another great feature - the re-configurable dash cluster. I love it. It's visible in all lighting conditions and being able to display just the info I want (or don't) is very useful. With four displays to choose from, there's bound to be one that fits your needs. Each section of the display has user-defined info that can be placed there. The trunk is spacious enough to accommodate three golf bags or medium-sized adults (Mafia capos, take note.) Visibility is surprisingly good for a vehicle of this size -the window as viewed through the rear view mirror has that bunker slit look reminiscent of my 2002 Eldorado that I always liked. Side mirrors work well - I'm glad I don't have to worry about lane-splitting motorcycles like I did in CA anymore though. A motorized rear sun shade retracts when the transmission is placed in Reverse. Both passenger windows have manually-operated privacy/sun shades. This gives them the feeling of being pampered and special -which of course, they are. The full opus (--as opposed to half-opus?!) leather seats are the softest of any of the Cadillacs I've owned; the rest felt like cardboard in comparison. The texture is exactly like what I have on my den furniture. The contrasting purple stitching elicits favorable comments from passengers consistently. Weird, I know, but they do notice it right away. The seats are all-day comfortable, though not as supportive as say, my old CTS-V, which enveloped the driver. Seat comfort is a subjective thing with so many body types to contend with, so your mileage may vary. I don't have any major complaints, though I wish the ventilated seat feature had a Turbo Mode. Sometimes I can readily feel cool air, and others, not so much. My wife's Traverse's cooled seats can ascend one's testicles in less than five minutes flat. (She doesn't know this obviously, but I'm living proof the capability exists within GM to make a very, very chilled seat.) Speaking of leather, a small herd of cows gave the ultimate sacrifice for the Platinum trim level of this car. It flows all over the interior. I was torn between the Premium and Platinum trim levels when making my buying decision since there was up to a $5,000 difference in a few of the cars. The Platinum won me over with all of its extra features, and since I'm going to be keeping this car for the next seven years, (until I leave here) I wanted a vehicle I would really enjoy. This vehicle checks all my boxes nicely. The XTS (as a prior-owned vehicle) offers a lot of luxury bang for the buck. CC
  3. Thanks Chuck! Postscript: I've owned this vehicle for over a year and thought a quick follow-up was due. Pros: I still like it as much as when I bought it. It's whisper-quiet and luxurious. My old CTS-V could pass just about anything on the road- except a gas pump; this car is the opposite. I'm getting close to 28 mpg on average. The sound system delivers. Cons: CUE takes too long to initialize. Map destination entry is available about twenty seconds after ignition, voice command acceptance to motivate the system to locate songs takes about three to four minutes. --To be fair, I have thousands of songs installed, but still . . . Newer versions of CUE are faster; it's too bad GM didn't plan to make a legacy system upgrade available. (A major oversight in my opinion.) A lot of users bemoan the interface because of its no-knob design. I'm fine with it. CUE gets no respect. It isn't perfect, but certainly not as bad as the reviewers (who probably don't get a lot of seat time with it) would have their readers believe. 90% of it's functions are set-and-forget. Reliability: My headliner is drooping two inches over the back window. (An easy GM fix with magnets.) A failed, rear shock was replaced. The CPO warranty (two more years left) gives great peace of mind and I have a good dealership nearby to work with. I find it interesting that the "placeholder" XTS --due to be discontinued after introduction of the CT6, has out-sold it seven months straight, (despite heavy advertising) and is slated to receive a major freshening and life-extension for several more years. CC
  4. The old adage, "Be careful what you wish for" certainly applies to the XLR. As much as I've loved owning an XLR, (and for years have continued to support owners online in other forums) it isn't a vehicle I would recommend to prospective buyers for one reason: Lack of critical spare parts. And by critical, I mean without them, you can't drive on the road if they fail. If the front or rear end is damaged in an accident, insurance companies aren't enthusiastic about honoring claims when new parts aren't available. Specifically, GM has discontinued stocking headlight and tail light assemblies. Add to the growing list, HUDs, Adaptive Cruise Control modules, interior trim pieces, seat pads and covers. . . the list grows monthly,. Are there workarounds? Sure. You can scrounge salvaged parts or cross your fingers and hope for the best buying used parts on eBay; the majority of the headlight assemblies have crazed DRL bezels, which is why they were removed in the first place. There's a guy who works out of his house claiming he can repair the headlights, but "You pay your money, you take your chances" certainly applies here. With less than 15,000 XLRs produced over a six-year span ending in 2009, (it's anybody's guess how many are still on the road) increasing numbers of savy, hard-core XLR enthusiasts are selling them to unsuspecting buyers enamored with it's beautiful design. Others are snapping up hard-to-find parts in an effort to ensure they can keep their cars running long-term. The majority of the suspension is corvette-supported, but a lot of the electronics modules are XLR-unique. Browse an online parts list and you'll be disappointed to see how many (simple) parts are discontinued. The most problematic system on the XLR has and always will be the Folding Top. For even minor sensor replacement, a GM diagnostic tool (available at your local dealership) is required. It's always been this way, but as time goes on, the number of certified XLR techs is dwindling. It's easy to assume a good tech armed with the proper tools, and supplied with technical documentation can perform the work, but without training, (and experience since there aren't that many being repaired to begin with) you're liable to pay more in labor for their OJT than you would otherwise. Just something to consider. I receive many PM's seeking help from XLR owners fed up with Service Departments who cannot repair their cars. More than a few ask if they should keep them and advise them to cut their losses and move on. The XLR has moved into a niche reserved for owners who like to work on "old cars" which these days means you need to be very technically oriented with the requisite tools and knowledge required. Support will not be getting better. Ever. I wish it were not so. Unless you're a very capable DIY who doesn't depend on an XLR as a daily driver, and doesn't mind waiting for extended periods of time while your beautiful garage queen languishes in the garage waiting for parts, (on a Battery Tender, of course or it will deplete the battery) this no longer a car I would recommend without performing extensive online research to determine if it's the right car for you. Like a supermodel, they're gorgeous, but can be very high maintenance --and that gets old --real fast. YMMV, CC
  5. It would seem most likely that your well-known (I like reputable, personally) stereo shop wired your stereo in such a way that there's a constant drain on the electrical system. Drain a battery, and all sorts of symptoms are going to appear within a complex, automotive electrical system. That being said, it might have been a coincidence. You didn't mention the age of the battery. It may have been on it's last legs anyway, and a week by itself, (the vehicle always draws power) may have been more than it could bear. It wouldn't hurt to take the battery to an auto parts store and have it load-tested. Once you have a reliable battery in your truck, remove all fuses related to the stereo installation and fire up the ignition. If the vehicle looks good, head over to that well-known stereo shop and have them review their work. Report back with new symptoms. CCC
  6. How did you test your battery? A voltmeter is insufficient. If you haven't load-tested it, jump-start your car and head to the nearest brand name auto parts store and ask them to load-test your battery. Better yet, if you can remove the battery and transport it in another vehicle, that would be ideal. From the symptoms you describe, the battery cannot hold a charge. If the charging system is operating correctly, the battery is highly suspect. CCC
  7. Life is too short to remain unhappy by choice. I've only endured one miserable job in my career, and left when the first good opportunity presented itself a year later. That ended up being the best all-around job I ever had. Fifteen years later, I made a major career change that opened up new opportunities that resulted in completely different positions. Each has been a challenge, and I've enjoyed them all. None of it would have happened if I hadn't taken that leap of faith. The bottom line is, if you don't try, you'll never know. You can always turn a wrench --like you said, if the new job doesn't work out. May all your dreams come true, CC
  8. Sometimes you know exactly what part needs to be replaced and have the ability to do the job yourself. Why not pay the same price the dealers pay when ordering parts? There are dealers who specialize in selling parts online and make their profit through volume. Here's a list of some of the sources I've used over the years. It pays to shop around and compare as some of these sources inflate shipping costs to increase their profit margin. http://www.gmpartsoutlet.net/ http://www.gmpartscenter.net/index.php?type=parts http://www.partswebsite.com/gm-car-parts/index.php?type=parts&start=1&home=1 http://www.gmpartsgiant.com/ http://www.gmpartsdirect.com/ http://www.wholesalegmpartsonline.com/errors/500.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/showAssembly.aspx http://cadillacpartspeople.com/ http://www.smcautoparts.com/Cadillac-XLR-Parts-s/15519.htm ---- Great XLR parts site for hard to find items. This guy bought a bunch of GM's XLR stock. CC
  9. As someone interested in electric vehicles and Cadillacs in particular, I've followed the ELR's progress and owner comments closely since it arrived. The owner comment link in the above-mentioned post left me shaking my head in disbelief when I saw it was from Blastphemy. He's well known in the ELR community, but for the wrong reasons, unfortunately. The article ends with him liking the car after five months. What a difference nearly two years can make . . . Blasphemy never bought an ELR, he rented (leased) one. As an early adopter, he got soaked on the deal. Like the XLR, the ELR was not worth the original price, and dismal sales prove it. There wasn't even a 2015 model - there were so many left on dealer's lots at the end of the first year that production stopped. A few changes were made (mods carried over from the similar Volt drivetrain) and a 2016 model will happen, though production will be curtailed. There are still new 2014's available! I've spoken with salesman at several dealerships and asked if they would be ordering any, and they all said "No!" Anyway, Blastphemy bad-mouthed the vehicle over what other ELR owners dismissed as minor flaws, eventually igniting some serious California wildfire-sized flame wars. His incessant whining online and to GM rated high enough on the their Customer Satisfaction meter that he received a complete refund and release from his lease by Cadillac, essentially enjoying a sixteen-month free ride. (I didn't even know that was possible.) Subsequently, he ended up in a Ford Fusion, but still trolls the other ELR owners in their forums, rather than moving on and enjoying his new ride. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but he lost a lot of credibility and respect through his actions in the manner that he voiced them. The only thing that makes the story worse were the other owners replies, which served to make a bad situation worse, and didn't do any favors for the forum. The ELR is a gorgeous vehicle to me. The rear seating room (like the Volt) is kind of grim though. The high centerline hump from the battery makes it look even smaller. The technology is decent, but the price (which eventually came down) and lack of a few features, (a HUD for one) made me keep looking. The 2016 model will cost about $10k less before other incentives are factored in. It will be a little faster, which has been a common complaint. I've driven a friend's Tesla, and really liked it (especially the acceleration) but a fully-appointed model is quite expensive, and it lacks an onboard generator like the ELR. Nice car, but very different, so comparisons are an apples-to-oranges thing. The bottom line: There's no such thing as a perfect car. Eventually, we all discover things that could be improved in each vehicle we buy. The trick is to know as much as possible about a vehicle before buying, then thoroughly road (and stationary) testing it before signing a deal. This seems like common sense to most people, but there are many who regret a purchase soon after the novelty wears off. Any satisfied ELR owners out there? CC
  10. While photos and verified model info are sparse at this time, Cadillac may indeed have a winner with the XT5. Based on the brisk sales pace of the SRX, customers are responding to Cadillac's CUV segment. I only hope the pricing is reasonable to give it a strong launch. CC
  11. Reading through this old post, you hit the nail on the head. --The XLR was killed by the price on its head. When new, (2004) they sold for $75k. Later, with the introduction of the Platinum (Leather dash pad, Alcatraz headliner, some badging, a chrome grill, and new exterior colors) the price went to $85k! And of course, the "V" model was $100k. You could buy a nice corvette for $75k and a really nice one for $100k! I always thought the base XLR was a $50k car (max.). I waited the traditional four years for it to drop 50% of its retail value, and got a great deal. After watching XLR prices for all these years, I can't think of another modern Cadillac that has kept its resale value as high as the XLR. Low mileage 2004's are still selling in the low to mid-20's. With less than 15,000 built, the XLR was definitely a niche car, but it paved the way for many of the features we enjoy on today's Cadillacs. RIP XLR, CC
  12. If the valet switch located in the lockable glovebox is enabled, the top will not operate, nor will the rear deck lid latch release. I solved a similar problem once- the only way the rear deck lid would operate was if the Folding Top Control switch (located on the center console between the seats) was pressed. The local switches (to the left of the steering wheel, above the license plate and the fob didn't do squat. The culprit was a faulty Front Tonneau position sensor. CC
  13. I know this is an old, ( --and more importantly, unanswered) post so I'll close the loop. Every XLR is supposed to be equipped with a special tool used to manually open the Folding Top. It consists of an L-shaped wrench with an 8 mm Allen-style on the short end, and a T-15 on the other. If you don't have it, store the equivalent somewhere in the vehicle. You'll most likely need it during one of the worst days you own the car. . . 'Just say'in. . . For those who are unfamiliar with the XLR's header latch, it's a clamp that closes over a pin in the windshield header (there's another similar pin in the trunk) that locks the top. The main point of this thing is to ensure you don't freak out like a lab monkey when it sees a syringe, should the top self-eject when you're driving at high speed with the windows down and a beautiful woman who just likes you for the cool car you have is on her first ride. That would be bad. To open or close the header latch, remove the black plastic plug that resides on the headliner bulge just behind the rear view mirror. Use the 8 mm end to rotate the header latch to the open or closed position. Lower the window, and from the outside, lift up the top, and maneuver it into the trunk. Obviously, this assumes you've got the hydraulic bypass valve open, the rear deck lid raised, the front and rear tonneaus in the correct position, and the procedure in the owners manual available. CC
  14. This is definitely a job requiring a Tech 2 to diagnose and/or correct. Unfortunately, you need a certified XLR tech at a dealership to work on it unless you have your own Tech 2 and a set of Service manuals. XLR Folding Top switches are fairly reliable, it's the potentiometers that determine moving component locations that aren't. The pots-potentiometers for my fellow geeks, (or position sensors) are responsible for 90% of the problems associated with the Folding Top. The position sensors (there are three) change their resistance when a component they're attached to moves. Each component has a retracted and extended position and corresponding resistance value (converted to counts by the Tech 2) depending on it's position. The Folding Top Control (FTC) module stores these values. Over time, it's very common for the values to drift as the sensors age, temperatures change, or they become loose -they're only held in place with one fastener. Once the expected (learned) sensor values don't match those stored in the FTC module, a Folding Top movement cycle (extend/retract) will stop. In many cases, when it stopped is an indicator of why it stopped. The Folding Top follows a pre-programmed sequence. When retracting, first, the windows lower. If they aren't indexed, (so they know where their lowered position is, the top will not move.) Nada. Zip. Nothing. If the windows are properly indexed, the front tonneau (three flaps behind the seats) raises, the rear deck lid raises, and the top retracts into the trunk. After that, the rear tonneau extends, and the rear deck lid lowers. To raise the roof, the opposite sequence occurs. Say for example, the folding top doesn't retract after the rear deck lid raises. (This assumes the hydraulic pump is good and the cantilever scissors mechanism that operates the rear deck lid is working properly too.) The front tonneau position sensor may be out of tolerance. Not enough to inhibit operation, but just enough to make the FTC module paranoid that it didn't raise, so it stops the cycle. It takes more time to contort one's body to connect the Tech 2 than it does to run a full diagnostic on the XLR. One of the diagnostic subroutines deals specifically with the Folding Top. It displays the component values (counts) the FTC expects, and shows the actual counts it reads during a movement cycle. By recording the stored values, it's easy to determine which sensor is out of tolerance when it doesn't match up. If they don't match, a Relearn is performed. This procedure records the sensor position counts and over-writes the prior values. In many cases, a Relearn will fix a sensor problem. If the sensor is going (or is) bad, it's just a temporary fix, and the sensor will require replacement. Again, a Relearn is required. This isn't meant to be a complete explanation of the Folding Top's operation, just a quick explanation of the most common problem most owners experience with it. 2004-2005 XLRs appear to be the most trouble-prone, and some changes (with retroactive mods) were made to the sensors in later years. But like anything else, as these vehicles age, they're going to need increasing amounts of TLC. CC
  15. An old post but . . . . Here's one (of many) sources for XLR parts (at substantial savings); the Center High Mounted Stop Lamp for example, is available here: http://www.gmpartsoutlet.net/auto-parts/2004/cadillac/xlr/base-trim/4-6l-v8-gas-engine/electrical-cat/high-mounted-stop-lamp-scat P/N: 259025631 Price: $126.00 CC
  16. Thanks again. You rock! CC
  17. Thanks Bruce! Can you remove my unintended multi-quote please? My iPad's display couldn't differentiate the buttons (or my fingers are swollen from thumb-typing) when trying to edit. --Most embarrassing . . . Thanks, CC
  18. This is a great cautionary tale for anyone buying a vehicle with "must-have" capabilities. ALWAYS verify the vehicle does what you need it to do -- not what the salesperson says it can do. There are some very knowledgeable sales people out there who know the products they sell (as well as the capabilities of the competition) inside and out, but there are plenty who are not well-versed regarding the operation of the newer infotainment systems (like CUE) and will say whatever it takes to make the sale. Caveat Emptor! CC
  19. Nice to see a friendly face here airmike! PS: I guess I can't edit my prior post a day afterwards, but I meant to write, "Gloss Enhancer" vice "Glass Enhancer." Doh!!!! CC
  20. Ten years ago, I was searching for decent car care products that would last longer than the two-week shine I was getting out of wax. The corvette forums were raving about Zaino products, and I bought a starter kit. There was a little bit of prep work involved, removing the old wax by washing the car with Dawn, rinsing it off, washing it again with Zaino's detergent, and claying the paint to remove all contamination before laying the first coat of Zaino Show Car Polish. Several coats later, the shine was much improved over any previously-used product. Several months later, the shine was still evident. If I need to wash the car, a quick wipe-down of their Glass Enhancer spray brings it right back. Instead of washing and waxing my cars monthly, (or bi-weekly sometimes) I applied Zaino twice a year, and I've been doing it ever since. Zaino isn't a wax, it's a polymer-based polish that adds increased depth with each layer applied. My starter kit lasted six years! It costs a little more, but a little goes a long way and it becomes economical in the long run. The time saved by only having to spend two afternoons a year shining cleaning and applying a few coats makes it my product of choice. Great stuff and smells great. Unlike wax, there's no residue to deal with and the effort to remove the polish is minimal. Last weekend, a friend's new car had paint splotches (from recent highway lane stripping) all over the driver's door and he couldn't get it off. He was told he would need a new paint job and was none-too-happy about it. I went over to his house and applied a little of Zaino's glass polish (this stuff works magic on sun-baked mineral spots that won't come off glass with traditional glass cleaners) for all of five minutes to gently remove the paint spots. He was truly amazed. Since he had lots of gratitude and beer to bestow upon me, I ended up spending a few hours applying Zaino to his freshly-washed car, and now he 's a True Believer. He placed an order for a starter polish kit that very night. Their interior products for leather, plastic and rubber seals work equally well. I'll never use ArmorAll again. The Zaino plastic and rubber product is non-greasy, doesn't sling off the tires, leaves no sheen on the dash, and lasts longer. Zaino is one of those rare companies whose products really do measure up to the hype. As for Griot's Garage, I used to live near their flagship store in Tacoma, and make a pilgrimage there whenever I'm in town. It's an excellent place with a friendly, knowledgeable staff. They have a nice, wide assortment of car care tools and accessories; my garage is full of them, but their day-to-day shining products have always left me disappointed. (Their heavy-duty swirl-removers and orbital polishers are very good though.) When I drove my (Zaino-polished) XLR over there once, the guys behind the counter came out to take a look at it, and commented on the depth of the shine. Since I had just loaded up on towels and cleaning supplies, they assumed I had used their polishing products. When I told them I used Zaino, they both smiled and looked at their shoes. I'm sure they've hear it before. Meguire's has a polymer-based polish that gets a lot of good online comments too. The bottom line, wax is old school. Polymer-based polishes are the modern way to keep your car looking great, --no matter what mother nature throws at it. CC
  21. Though this is an old post, I'll answer the question for anyone who is wondering where the fuel filter is located. (It ain't pretty.) The XLR uses two saddle-style fuel tanks based on (and nearly identical to) the C5 corvette. The fuel filters are located within the tanks and are not serviceable in the normal sense of the word. The tanks need to be removed (a big job, requiring a lift) to gain access to the venture jet pumps w/attached fuel filters. CC