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I wash my radiator with a a tar solvent and a pressure washer every time I use it. Keeps it really clean.

 

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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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It sounds like your screen will do the job. :bee:  My son handles road noise with a quality stereo.  He too loves driving his SWB.  He is 6'5" tall and finds the seats acceptably comfortable on long trips.  In addition he has an elevated bed and finds a way to sleep comfortably in it.  He has a fan-tastic portable fan that plugs into any available dc outlet that he likes a lot.  He leaves the fan on all night without draining his battery although he does have a second battery for his stereo.  He carries a full load of cargo 1200 to 1600 lbs and gets 20mpg on the highway at 70 mph.  He also has a heavy duty roof rack and a roof basket in which he carries cargo:shift:, along with a rear hitch basket.  Even with a full load he gets a comfortable ride.  He loves his 2012 TC, although he has not encountered alfalfa filled grasshopers.  :gaah:We have purchased but not yet installed a cabin air filter.  There are video's regarding installation on you tube.  We did have to limit the size of the hitch cargo basket to four feet to avoid blocking the tail lights.  He has driven about eight thousand miles so far this summer without incident.  People really seem to like his TC because of it's unusual lines and utility.  He is living in Laguna Beach now but will be heading to Oregon soon for an eclipse festival.  :superhero: He really likes the west coast and may end up staying there.  :yahoo: We have relatives who live in Studio City as well who are in the technical aspects of the movie business.  One relative liked his Gen 1 TC for the cargo space and is now looking for one to carry his equipment.  :worship:  Finally remember that a closed mouth gathers no grasshoppers :rant:

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Pictures of your DIY screen solution?

Is it a soft or hard screen solution?

Back when car bras were a popular accessory, several had screens attached. They also sold a screen that attached with little S hoops and thin bungee cords. I used them in Florida during love bug season.

I would think aluminum or fiberglass screening cut to fit along with some self stick Velcro (maybe sewn on the screen) would work well. 

They still sell mesh like inserts for pickup trucks for styling. Maybe somebody will do similar for the TC?

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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.

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IMG_20160712_141402_393.thumb.jpg.8643af8331622bef9cedad0ddf9c7437.jpgHad my 2016 LWB XLT for 15 months now. Got fried by lightening at 80 mph, back at 40,000 miles or so. Burned out all the electric's/electronics , even Inside the Tranny, everything but the outside light bulbs, Imagine that.

Road hazard covered it, was a $6500 repair, cost me my deductable , no biggie.

Never had a single complaint, now at 82,000 miles, runs perfect. I don't nit pick it, need a new driver side sun visor, Its sagging a bit, Gas cap/door kinda loose,, 

Not bad for the heavy use I've put it throgh..

I'd buy another..

Edited by Osco
addition

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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.

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