Friday, February 24, 2012

My problem with Hyundai

Last year I bought a brand new Hyundai Sonata.  Below is a letter I recently wrote to them explaining my problems.  I sent it off around two weeks ago, still haven't heard anything from them, don't really expect to.  I would suggest you look for another brand if you're considering purchasing a Hyundai.

To Whom it May Concern,

On July 1, 2011, I purchased a Hyundai Sonata from the dealership in XXXXX, CA.  After a bit of negotiating, I was able to get it for what I believed to be a fair price.

I’m writing this letter to you to inform you why I’ve soured on Hyundai.

With the purchase of the vehicle, came a three month free trial of Sirius/XM radio.  While I didn’t really care if it came with the car or not, my wife and I tried it out.  We weren’t too impressed with the service.  My interaction with the sales representatives from Sirius/XM was very frustrating and troublesome.  They constantly harassed me at home by calling continually and bothering me.  I finally took one of their calls and had to just hang up the phone on them, they were very pushy and in my opinion, rude.  I know this has more to do with them than Hyundai, but your company is the one that decided to offer the three month free deal, so I hold you responsible.

Next came a couple of issues with the vehicle itself.  While on a trip from my home in XXXXX, CA to San Antonio, TX, I discovered that my speedometer was off by what I consider to be a large margin, about 2.8% or right at 40 miles in a 1340 mile one way trip.  While on this trip, we also got several warnings from the TPMS.  We had to stop several times to make sure we weren’t running on flat tires.

When we got home from this trip (we put on over 3000 miles), I brought the car in for it’s 7500 mile service.  I notified the Service Department of the issues and they told me they would check it out.  When the vehicle service was completed, I was told that nothing was going to be done about the speedometer since it was “within” specs.  According to the service manager, the engineers who figure all of that stuff out decided that the inaccuracy of the speedometer was acceptable to them.  I was also told that there was a wide spread problem with the TPMS on these cars and it might be to my advantage just to take the bulb out of the warning light.

The 2.8% inaccuracy in my speedometer is not acceptable to me.  Telling me to just take the bulb out of the dash to fix my TPMS problems is not acceptable either.  It is hard for me to believe in this day and age that a vehicle speedometer could be that far off right from the factory and you can’t get the TPMS to operate properly.

If in fact the problem with my speedometer is acceptable to Hyundai, if makes me wonder what else is going to be inaccurate or troublesome in the future and be acceptable to the company?

A couple of other issues that come to mind.  I always take good care of my vehicles.  I try my best to get them in for service in a timely manner.  I am doing this with the Sonata.  On my last oil change, I was promised a free car wash.  I called and made an appointment to have the oil changed.  Brought it in on time, and was told that the person who does the car washes was not there due to being out delivering parts.  Now, they told me I could wait, but when I asked, they said they didn’t know when he would return.  My time is worth something too.  I’m not going to wait around with no idea when I might get the car washed.  One last thing, every time I’ve brought the vehicle in for maintenance, they do a check of the tire pressures.  Every time I’ve brought the vehicle home, the tire pressures have been no where near the recommended pressures in the owners manual or printed on the drivers door “B” pillar.  This last time, I had the front left tire over inflated by 15 psi.  Apparently attention to detail is not common at this dealership service department.

When I purchased the vehicle, I gave my word to the Sales Manager that I would bring in my car there for service for at least a year because they were giving me such a “great deal”.  My word is my bond.  I planned on doing what I told him, but since they aren’t living up to their side of the deal, I don’t think I need to live up to my side any longer either.

I’m sure you can tell that I’m not a happy camper.  It is funny that a company that touts it’s vehicles so much refuses to stand behind them.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Instrument Cluster removal on an E34 BMW

This will probably be my last post concerning the two E34 BMW's I've owned and written about here. My Mom just turned 86 recently and decided that she doesn't want to drive any longer. She had a ten year old car that only had 26K miles on it that was in really good shape. She gave it to me, hence I no longer need the 95 525i that I've owned for the past four years.

The 95 BMW's registration was up for renewal, so I needed to get it smogged. These old BMW's can put you through the wringer when you try to smog them. I did what I had to do last time I smogged this car, new air filter, new plugs and fresh oil change. Took it down to the Smog Test place after driving it hard on the freeway for about 30 minutes to get it nice and warm. The Smog guy got to it in about 10 minutes, but it failed. Didn't know it at the time, but the "Check Engine" light was not working. In California, that is an automatic fail even if you pass the rest of the test, which I didn't.

On my way home from the Smog Test, I decided to just get rid of the car. I had a much nicer, newer vehicle to use and really didn't care what I could get for it. I called around to some local wrecking yards and got someone to give me $500 sight unseen. This was on a Friday afternoon. I then started thinking about this buddy of mine who enjoys working on cars and is quite a good mechanic. I talked to him at Church on Sunday and he said he would buy it for $500.

He picked up the car this morning.

Before I handed it off to him, I decided to go ahead and at least change out the bulb for the "Check Engine" light. I figured while I was in there that I might as well replace the Gear Shift indicator light in the dash that burned out a while ago. I had some of the bulbs for the dash for over a year.

So, this post is mainly to give you some extra photos to look at above and beyond what the Bentley manual shows (their photos aren't always the best quality).

If you came here looking for a complete "how to" on how to remove your cluster, you won't find it here. The Bentley manual has excellent instructions on how to do this. I'm just enhancing the procedure a bit with some color pictures that are clearer. If you don't have a Bentley manual, I would suggest buying one.

If you look in the Bentley manual under Instrument cluster, removing and installing (Section 620-2) it gives you the step by step for removing it.

To remove the cluster, you have to remove the drivers air bag and the steering wheel. The air bag removal instructions are in section 721 and the steering removal instructions are in section 320 of the Bentley.

Just make sure you disconnect the battery before you attempt any of this.

These pictures added below should help you during the process:

Once you have the battery disconnected, you need to remove the air bag. You need to unplug the connector under the steering wheel column to do that. The picture in the Bentley isn't real clear. In this picture, the yellow arrow points to that connector. It has orange on it as stated in the manual. I took the air bag out of the 93 525i I had and the plug seemed to be a bit different that the 95 525i. As long as it had ORANGE on it, that will be the right plug. If you remove the plug denoted in the picture with the green arrow before the air bag plug it makes the entire process easier.


Once you have those plugs disconnected, you are ready to remove the air bag. Just follow the instructions in the Bentley. My air bag used the T27 Torx to remove it.

Once the air bag is free from the steering wheel, you need to remove the plugs attaching it to the steering wheel. It's fairly simple to figure out what you need to do at this point.

With the air bag completely removed from the steering wheel, you can remove the steering wheel. Again follow the instructions in the Bentley.

With the steering wheel gone, the cluster comes out fairly easy. Follow the instructions to get the cluster out. Make sure that you cover the steering column with a towel or thick rag. I did, but didn't secure it as well as I should have and it fell off. While I was working on the cluster, with the towel gone, I ended up scratching the bezel to the cluster.

This next series of pictures show the cluster coming out.

This one shows the cluster still attached to the cables. The four green lines show the location of the plugs that plug into the back of the cluster:


This picture shows the cluster removed and the four cables that were plugged into the cluster (see green lines):


This pic shows the cluster out of the car. The picture is the back of the cluster. If you look at the plug sockets, you can see a small black lever to the left of each plug except for the second from the left. Those levers release the plug from the socket. This car is 17 years old and those levers are made of plastic. I tried my best to gently manipulate those levers, all but the one worked fine, the other one broke even though I was trying to do it as gently as possible.


These last two pictures show the location of the bulbs that I needed to replace. The first one is the "Check Engine" light, as you can see, there was no bulb there, that's why it wasn't working. The second pic is where the Gear Shift indicator light bulb is located.

Photobucket Photobucket

Installation is reverse of removal. Just remember that you need to plug in those two plugs under the steering wheel. If you have any questions, leave me a comment or email me. Good Luck!