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tcconvert last won the day on March 26

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About tcconvert

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  1. 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.
  2. 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."
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. I haven't seen anything like that. Fiberglas screening could serve the purpose but attaching it effectively inside the plastic nose cone would be a challenge. I'm still not sure how the get the plastic front shell detached.
  8. Recently I discovered another, quite unexpected issue. I regularly make a drive through a small area where farms grow Alfalfa. This attracts huge numbers of grasshoppers. I knew that the hoppers were smashing into what I think is the the AC condenser inside the nose shell. But I never expected the numbers I discovered recently. My wife and I both started noticing a strong Alfalfa Odor in the garage. I knew it was the dead grasshoppers, which I regularly have to clean off the exterior - they have the same Alfalfa odor. I have tried to hose out the inside of the grill a couple times. Then we started to also detect a dead animal carcass type of odor. We thought there might be a dead mouse or lizard somewhere in our garage. We could find nothing, and at one point I got down and stuck my nose into the front grill and realized, much to my horror, that the dead carcass smell seemed to be coming from the smashed grasshoppers. I could find no other dead wildlife stuck inside the grill. I couldn't believe that insects would generate this kind of death smell! But apparently - if you collect a large enough mass of dead flesh, they do! Two or three forceful blastings with a water hose reduced, but did not entirely eliminate the smell (while making a mess of me), and now, after every trip through this area in the summer I am down on my knees blasting the grill with a water hose. It never completely eliminates the smell, but I can't see any other way to easily get inside the grill to completely clean it. IMO this is a MAJOR flaw in this design. Because of the low positioning of the front end it scoops up insects that would pass under most other vehicles, and getting inside the nose compartment to clean it out is virtually impossible as far as I can see. If you live in a farming area you might want to reconsider owning this vehicle!
  9. Do you recommend any speakers in particular? Catalogs praise everything they sell, and reviews may not apply particularly well to our echo boxes on wheels.
  10. tcconvert

    Interior clips

    My inept local dealer who sold me my TC did the recall install of the side door latches. They annoyingly left one of the black plastic trim clips out of my MDF sliding door panel. I'm trying NOT to support this dealer as they have proven to be very inept, and don't really want to go back there, so I thought, "how hard could it be to find some trim clip replacements?" As it turns out - harder than you might think! Tried without success to register at fordparts.com, whose web site seems to be only partly functional. Then just made some online searches. The only clips I could turn up that looked very much like the Ford originals, could be bought from one of the local big-box auto parts dealers for.....$12.....That's twelve dollars EACH! Yes, for ONE fastener. There's an infinite assortment of clips available out there, but no way of telling if there is a reasonably-priced replacement that actually fits the TC's panels. Some of you may have already discovered that those MDF panels can be an annoying source of vibration if not securely fastened. I want fasteners in EVERY hole! Anyone found a replacement clip type and source for substitutes that work?
  11. tcconvert

    Rough Ride

    The ride is certainly firm on these vans - much firmer than on any of the string of small and mid-size pickups I have owned over the last 30 years. "Luxury" is the last quality that comes to mind when I'm riding in mine, and the utilitarian nature of the beast is always apparent. They are built as work vehicles and it shows. If it's any consolation, the ride quality of the wagon models is not any softer. Driving one of these things is very different from anything I've owned, including a full-sized ford window van in the 1970's. But you do get used to it, and I must admit I kind of like the firm ride and precise steering. I'm also used to the magnificent view and feel closed in in other vehicles now. There's a bizarre kind of satisfaction about owning and driving this van - but "plush" it ain't!
  12. I faced this issue when I realized, much to my surprise, that changing the oil was no longer an easy matter (it's also becoming harder as I age). Accepting that was a step into the future. This was a beast different to anything I have ever owned. I looked at ramps. They're big and difficult to store (impossible in my garage). Trustworthy ones are heavy. I finally accepted that in this era, with 7-10 thousand mile synth oil changes, it wasn't going to be that big a deal to take it to a dealer and be done with it. I will just bite the bullet and have them change the air filter and all the wiper blades at the same time. I agree about the camera. The center pillar is a bit of an inconvenience, but worth the trade for the doors.
  13. Some good points made here. I agree that the transition could be difficult for some. I have been driving pickups with folding bed covers that offered unobscured vision all around. Took me some time to get used to the van. I was correct that having the second row windows would alleviate much of the blind feeling, They allow a direct look back to each side, enabling coming cross-traffic to be seen, and once I got used to the camera and started trusting it it became a breeze to back out of parking spaces. The sonar is very useful. I wish I had the same gear all around the vehicle like my Wife's Beemers do. The only downside to the camera is the tiny monitor. I am partially blind and it is difficult to see at times. My last six vehicles have been small and mid-size pickups. Most of them felt like trucks. When driving the TC I forget there's a cargo area behind me and it feels like driving a car. The low seating position and the amazing view add to that feeling. One gets a sense of being a bit different when driving these things. They have an odd, cutting edge feeling that is unlike almost any other American vehicle and people look curiously at them. Especially if they are used as private transport and not commercial vehicles. The look of mine has grown on me over time (I actually think the wagon version is unattractive), and every man I show it to wants to have one. It is the most useful and versatile general hauling vehicle I have ever owned. I do wonder about resale value down the road. I surmise that by enhancing the cargo area while keeping it completely open will make it more appealing to either a daily driver or a tradesman when that time comes.
  14. The LWB is NOT a large vehicle. It's a foot shorter and an inch narrower than my Nissan Frontier pickups with a 6' bed. Maneuverability is incredible and, because of axle placement, you can park it in spots that many drivers have to pass up. A small 2-step utility ladder is required to reach the middle of the roof for washing (if you do that yourself). If I put a rack on top I don't think I could get under my garage door. But then, I can stand up, bent over, in the back of mine and change clothes. I have ridden in the wagon version a couple times. The ride is just as firm as my unloaded van. Certainly not cushy!