CCClarke

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CCClarke last won the day on September 14 2015

CCClarke had the most liked content!

About CCClarke

  • Rank
    Reader (10+ posts)

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Uncanny Valley, New England
  • Interests
    Astronomy, astro-photography, electronics, 3D CGI, engineering,kayaking, camping, exploring new places, craft beer, & Cadillacs!

Previous Fields

  • Car Model and Year
    2013 XTS Platinum, ex-2004 XLR
  • Engine
    3.6L V6 VVT DI (LLT)

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  1. Cadillac's segment busting CT6 Sedan

    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. 2013 Platinum XTS One-Month Review

    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
  3. 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
  4. Wiring

    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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Links to Parts and Accessories

    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
  8. 5 mo with the ELR

    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
  9. Spy Shots: Cadillac XT5

    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
  10. XLR Is Dead

    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
  11. 2005 xlr trunk

    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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 2013 Platinum XTS One-Month Review

    Thanks again. You rock! CC