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tcconvert

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tcconvert last won the day on February 21

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About tcconvert

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  • Region
    U.S. Mountain
  • My. T.C.'s Year
    2016

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  1. tcconvert

    the OH CRAP tote

    My shade tree mechanic days are over. The only tools I carry now are a AAA card and a cell phone.
  2. Well Don, I am 70+++ and I get where you're coming from. I'm long past the car ego trip era, and honestly, I don't care if I ever service my own vehicle again. The only reason I would have continued with my own oil changes is that I could get full-synth oil instead of the combo mix the dealer or an oil change shop gives me, for less cost, and would feel entirely comfortable going at least 10,000 miles between changes after the break-in. Not to mention I wouldn't have to waste two hours, and drive 30 miles at every change, like I do now. I don't have room to store car ramps. Maybe I could fabricate something much more compact and store-able out of wood, but I'm not certain how much height I would need to get under there and get to everything. Maybe my time-of-life also explains why I did some partial interior mods to clean up the rear and try to reduce the noise level, and then gave up. I just didn't have the time or incentive to see it through. I heartily agree it handles like a car. I've had nothing but compact and mid-sized Datsun and Nissan pickups going back to the early eighties, needing the occasional hauling capacity for my business. Well, not counting the VW Rabbit diesel PU I owned briefly - possibly the most under-powered vehicle ever conceived! So this puppy doesn't just handle like a car to me, it handles like a "sporty" car. Except for the road noise I really enjoy driving it. The dealers (I have only two within 100 miles) all gave up on the door adjustments, and so have I. I have fiddled with anything attached to the door systems that can possibly be moved or adjusted - to no avail. Even if I reduce it the rattles always return, especially the sliders unless I hit a really big bump - then the clam-shells join in! I could see how this wouldn't bother commercial users. Once they pack a bunch of racks and a few hundred parts and tools into the back, the rattles are moot. It could be that my brief ride in the wagon version seemed so hard because every seat was occupied, but I couldn't help but notice every bump. I guess that because it was a "passenger" version I was expecting something cushier.
  3. Lots of valid points made here. With a couple years and 18,000 miles on mine I would say I have developed a love/hate relationship with it. It IS the most useful vehicle I have ever owned. I serves me perfectly in my professional art business, where I sometimes have to haul large, but not heavy loads. It's perfect for transporting my large RC aircraft. It has served me well as a portable dressing room for changing into winter flying clothes at the airport, when getting suited up to fly my open cockpit home-built. It's just the most convenient vehicle I have ever owned for transporting just about everything I can think of (after 25 years of pickup trucks). It far surpasses my three generations of (4-cyl 2WD) Nissan Frontiers in the power department. Mileage is remarkable. And it's oddly pleasant and sporty-feeling to drive, and astounding when it comes to parking and maneuvering - or just getting in and out. Down-side...It's commercial breeding is in-your-face. There is NOTHING luxurious about it. It's noisy, uninsulated. The doors rattle and two dealers have been unable to silence them after multiple tries. The Ford Sync head unit sucks, and it's "practically impossible" to add anything electronic to the vehicle that it didn't come equipped with. It's the first vehicle I have owned since the early 1960's that has driven me to give in to paying someone else to do simple services like an oil change - because access is so difficult. I had an occasion to spend more than an hour as a back seat passenger in the wagon version. It was about as pleasant and hard-riding as being in a Soap Box Derby racer, and made me glad I didn't pop for that version. Maybe the final word should be what one dealer's mechanic left me with after giving up on silencing the rattling doors - "Hey...It's a van!"
  4. tcconvert

    OEM tires and wheelspin

    Backed out of the garage three days ago into about 6" of snow, sitting on top of solid ice. (We have not been above freezing for more than two weeks) I stopped and closed the garage door and then attempted to move forward. NADA! My sad OEM Cont's, with 18,000 miles on them just sat there and spun on top of the ice layer. There wasn't enough tread to grip the snow and pull me up off the ice sheet. Only an extensive rocking session got me moving enough to get back into the garage. This caused me to take a good look at the tires, and I realized they had a lot more wear than I would have expected at 18,000 miles. Working at home means I am not forced to go out every day, and can usually wait for things to moderate a bit before I attempt to go anywhere, but the massive fail behavior of those sad Conti's drove me to the computer to research some new skins. I spent almost an entire work day looking for a good alternative to the OEM's. Along the way I brought up reviews of the OEMs that came stock on my 2016. The biggest complaint was the shocking early wear - some people showed extensive wear at only 10,000 miles! Then there were the sidewall bubbles and failures. Not good! I searched for a good all-season tire that would give me a bit more grip in modest conditions than I had at present with the Conti's (none!). I didn't want to have to drive around on snow tires in an area that typically has more dry weather than anything else. The road noise in these cans is bad enough as it is, and I value my 27 MPG average mileage. I ended up settling on a Goodyear all-weather tire that had stellar reviews for all conditions and got raves about their long wear. Unfortunately, as is all too common for TC owners - these babies did not come in the TC's stock size. I could have accepted a taller tire, but I didn't want to alter my speedo readings. Bummer. Further local searches in my area for what the few typical tire stores (Discount, Big-O, etc.) actually offered left me disappointed. I was going to have to pick from what was available and offered in the TC's size. I ended up at Discount Tire, reluctantly taking the suggestion to fit a set of Pirelli Cinturato Strada AS's (a model exclusive to Discount Tires). I Drove off in the 22 degree weather on my new, very unexciting-looking $500 tires for the trip home, expecting to not notice anything different. BIG SURPRISE! The Pirelli's had completely changed the feeling of my van. The steering was lighter. The wheels pointed quickly in the direction I wanted. The van had a much tighter and crisper feel all-around, and maybe equally as welcome was a much reduced level of road noise! This made me realize what crappy tires I had been driving on for the last two years! I have since driven them through some packed snow and over some ice. These things are not winter tires, In truth, they are performance tires, but they do provide a higher degree of grip than the Conti's, and I expect them to be able to get me through modest winter conditions just fine. The best thing is that I feel like I am driving a completely different vehicle! So, here you are guys and gals...Need new shoes? If your needs parallel mine, I think you will find a lot to like about these pirelli's. Check 'em out.
  5. tcconvert

    2016 TC Cargo Aftermarket Sound System

    The dealer informed me this can be done, but they had to refer me to an outside independent installer and told me I would likely lose some of the control functionality on the steering wheel. I was shocked to discover, after purchasing, that there was no easy way to connect satellite radio! Seems that today, if what you want is not already on the vehicle when you buy it, it is very difficult to add aftermarket electronics, essentially because the necessary interfaces aren't there. Maybe this is not the case with other vehicles. In any case, it was too difficult and I didn't want to lose my steering wheel controls, so I gave up on it. After a while I accepted that the interior road noise was so overpowering that I would have to crank up the volume of ANY add-on to such a level that what is left of my hearing would be compromised (you probably don't worry about that unless you are my age). This opens up an even bigger can of worms.....considering how to noise-insulate the interior so you can hear your music (and everything else). I gave up on that partway through. It was all just too overwhelming for a vehicle I would not own any longer than 5 years. There are some great things about the TC. And some not-so-great. I would like to see a cargo version with interior insulation and paneling for those of us who value the space and don't need the seats, but would appreciate a higher level of comfort.
  6. tcconvert

    Hello everyone

    This is where you discover that if it wasn't on the vehicle when it left the dealer, it's a challenge to add it later, because there are now few-to-no plug-in interfaces for add-ons, for example, satellite radio. Seems to be the wave of the future. I was very disappointed by the poor voice-activated system, and considered a touch-screen head unit replacement (I had been using them for years in previous vehicles). Then I was told by the dealer it would be very challenging (and pricey) to do so - certainly more than I would want to do myself as I age. It would also eliminate some of the stock steering wheel controls, which I was reluctant to do.
  7. Nice job. I have to agree with you about quality issues. Three new Nissan Frontiers preceded my current van, and I also don't feel the love when it comes to Ford quality. My Frontiers were not top-of-the-line, but there was still a tightness and quietness in the build that is missing from this Ford. Of course, It's a van. And one dealer who was unable, after several attempts, to resolve a rattling sliding door issue on this van, ended by saying to me..."Hey, it's a van." Is this what I should expect from a van? I drove a Focus loaner for a few days while they had my van to try and resolve the door rattles. It was a real piece of juck, with noises and looseness everywhere. Couldn't wait to get rid of it. Last time I owned a van was in the mid-1970's. It was a Ford window van! I don't remember it having the cheap feeling this current day van has. Like you...I love the concept and the utilitarian usefulness of the TC. I just carry this feeling that I can't quite trust it. I can't say yet, if when I reach my usual five-year trade-in period, I would pop for another one. Time will tell.
  8. tcconvert

    Blower Fan Access

    Hah! I don't have the leaf problem, but I have always wondered if my cargo van HAD the claimed air filter, and where the heck it was! I could never locate it.
  9. UPDATE - 16,500 miles: LIKES Getting a pretty consistent 27-28 mpg. Still enjoy driving it. Doesn't feel at all like a van or truck - sporty, quick handling. Power very adequate 95% of the time. Handles crosswinds better than any of the 3 Nissan trucks that preceded it. Driver's seat has felt very comfy. With it's 6 doors, low floor, and stupidly easy entry and exit, I have never had a more useful vehicle. Oh, that picture window view! DISLIKES Road noise except on the smoothest of roads. Kind of like riding in a large passenger jet - the background noise is always there. The frustrating voice controlled audio system. That giant low-down windshield takes a serious impact beating from stones and road debris. Lack of any kind of flow-through ventilation, necessitating AC use more often than I would like. AC is marginally effective in that large, open space. It's not a tight vehicle. Doors seem loose. Both clamshell rear doors just shake in the frame when you close them. Spent a lot of time at dealerships trying to resolve annoying door rattles. No one ever really knew how to resolve them. The door latch recall mod seemed to resolve the worst one through coincidence. When I go over bumps the whole frame can be heard to protest. Maybe this is just typical van stuff? The completely open grill area invites massive damage from stones and insects. It is absolutely unfathomable why Ford did not provide more protection for this vital area. And as with trying to take up the slack on other issues, with aftermarket solutions - they are almost non-existent for this specialized vehicle. Very disturbing is the worsening slack and judder in the transmission. It manifests at moments like selecting "Drive" and pulling away from a stop at my mailbox, or when shifting from reverse to drive when maneuvering or backing. The tranny will jolt as it takes up slack and engages, or demonstrate the kind of judder you would experience in an old manual tranny with a worn out clutch. Took it to a dealer, but of course I was unable to produce the situation on demand. Worst thing overall - The streamlining that allows this vehicle to handle so well and turn in stellar mileage comes at a price. It is so enclosed that for the first time in my life, even something as simple as an oil change leaves me a victim of long waits at a dealership. I have no room for, nor the desire to purchase a large set of ramps just to do an oil change at home. I guess it is inevitable that in this era, it is almost impossible, or impractical, for most of us to do self service on vehicles, as I have done for most of my life. And at my advancing age I don't really have the desire to do so. Would I buy it again? At this juncture I would have to say yes. It is still the most utilitarian vehicle I have ever owned. But perhaps there will be failures or annoyances that will develop before I reach my typical 5-year trade-in time and I will change my mind.
  10. tcconvert

    Sound deadening for road noise?

    LOL! You crack me up! And you're right - headphones are the perfect solution - as long as you need to talk to anyone. I did a little insulating in the back of mine, but eventually just gave up. It's so much hassle to do, it's just not practical. And it still doesn't have a major effect. After bearing the road noise and the door rattles you eventually give up and start using the old adage, "Hey...It's a van."
  11. Depends upon your perspective. I drove 2WD 4-cylinder Nissan Frontiers for 25 years - one a manual and the next two with automatics. They were pretty anemic and managed 25 mpg average only with very conservative driving. My TC feels like a hot rod in comparison, with passing power the Nissans could only dream about. I also really love the TC's handling. I now average about 27.5 mpg, with 13,000 miles - with no thought as to how I drive it. The most useful vehicle I have ever owned for both my business (Artist) and my personal use. Dislikes: Road noise is pretty bad on anything but really smooth surfaces. Voice controlled audio system sucks. Can be a lot of door rattles that sometimes can not be eliminated. DIY oil changes are just too much trouble. This old guy now just takes it to the dealer. Luckily, with modern lubes, they aren't required that often. The Vista-view windows are really grand but the low windshield really takes a beating and doesn't take long to become completely pitted.
  12. I used a black, heavily textured pickup bed coating. Rolled it on with the panels removed. Has worked perfectly. Very tough. Think I posted photos in the interior forum.
  13. I took my bug screen off after my test drive (it folds up and can be stored anywhere). I won't install it again for a few days, when I have to drive through hopper hell, But I can describe it easily: I used a large rectangle of Fiberglas screen. The top edge holds a pair of wooden dowels, sown into the screen using tough synthetic fishing line. The top center has a small V cut into it in the center to avoid tangling with the hood release. This cut separates the two dowel sections and allows a slight angling of the dowels, which just rest inside the front ledge, where it is held by the closed hood. The bottom of the screen is folded over for strength and 3 grommets were then installed to hold 10" bungee cords. One is centered. The other two are at the outside bottom corners. The sides of the screen were cut on a self-healing mat using a long straight edge to produce a clean straight line. This makes edging for looks unnecessary. The biggest challenge is finding places in the front plastic underside pan to attach the other ends of the bungees (You remember my complaint about being unable to wash out the insect debris?). There are no holes, but there are a very limited number of undercuts that can snag the bungee ends. They are not located in spots I would prefer, but trying to install some sort of fittings would make the whole task much more problematic. The center bungee actually goes through the grommet and the two ends are stretched in a slight V shape and hooked underneath. When installed, the whole affair is quite clean and inconspicuous. When you get up close you see the screen mesh, but it really isn't objectionable, and it's purpose is obvious. With an hour's labor and a few dollars for parts you can more than equal the cheap offerings of online vendors who oftentimes don't even send all the necessary components. If possible later I will try to grab a photo.
  14. I make this comment based upon many years of driving a variety of mid-sized pickups through this same area. Yes, they picked up some hoppers, more on the exterior than interior, but were much easier to clean even though the grills had the same types of wide openings as the TC. My TC is different. Many bugs seem to be swept up over the sloped hood, and don't register the frequent windshield hits my pickups suffered. But a massive quantity of hoppers seems to be engulfed by the low-slung TC scoop. Some people may not have the luxury of alternate routes (including myself), nor the option of simply not going somewhere for several weeks until the whole event passes. The primary reason I mention this is not just that this vehicle seems to collect so many insects - it's that the closed structure of the nose assembly makes cleaning a nightmare. Drain holes out of this structure seem to be few and very small. I can blast away at the lodged bugs, but even when I break them free they just gather in the bottom reaches of the plastic pan, where they continue to rot, and combined with the Alfalfa, create a putrid smell that my spouse I have never before experienced. I have use vacuum cleaners, and even tried using long tweezers to manually extract parts and pieces one-by-one, but even that is not very effective (not to mention ridiculously time consuming). The only reason I can accept this situation is because I normally have to make the trip through this area only once a week, and in the Winter the problem is non-existant. I realized right away that every trip through this area necessitated a mandatory cleaning afterwards. Still, multiple blastings don't get everything out and the maliferous odor continues to inhabit our garage. An educational trip around the web to find ways to solve the issue quickly reveals that, as is typical for this vehicle, solutions range from nothing, to very few. The only viable solution I could find was a strap-on screen that had less-than-glowing reviews, that did not encourage me to send money. The solution? I simply used the concept of the strap-on screen to develop my own, better version - and at a fraction of the price. I have not yet tested it against the Alfalfa fields, but an extensive trip around town and on freeways showed that it works as intended with no issues, and pops on and off in less than a minute. This is not a rant against my TC. With just over 9000 miles now, I still love it. The biggest negative to owning my version? Without question it's the road noise! It's the nature of the beast and there's no easy or inexpensive way to eliminate it. My wife, who is used to BMW sedans and SUVs refuses to ride in it, except when she needs it's capaciousness to haul something that's too large to shoehorn into her Beemer. The 28 mile-per-gallon AVERAGE fuel consumption that I'm enjoying- goes a long way towards making the road noise more bearable!
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