Since I bought my XFR, I’ve been working through some issues the car has. In case you didn’t read my post about my purchase, my car would be a mid-range car… not totally used up, but not a cream puff or garage queen either.
Its probably pretty typical of a third owner car. The first buys the car new and maintains the car well while under warranty. Once the warranty runs out and a problem emerges, they trade the car in. At that point, the car gets wholesale auctioned to a used car dealer where the second owner buys it. The second owner buys it, but mostly uses it as a status symbol and is not a gearhead. They don’t worry about small issues the car develops and typically use less than stellar mechanics for repairs. If the cars runs and drives, they’re content. This is typically the owner that causes most of the wear and tear on the car. They don’t treat it well, and neither do their mechanics. Then comes me as the third owner. By this point, the car is still a pretty solid car, but needs some TLC. Working on the car, I discover shortcuts previous mechanics made with the car and things that need to be brought back to par. Hence, my starting point.
My first order of business is to get this car ready to pass an inspection so I can get it licensed. The first thing I tackled was the license (name plate) lights. One was out. Its easy enough to replace a light bulb, right? I try that, but to no avail. After checking with a multimeter, its not getting power. As it turns out, one of the most common problems with these cars is the boot wiring. It gets cut over time by opening and closing the boot. This was not only causing the license light to not work, but also causing me to only get a blue screen when using the backup camera. If the small wires are cut, they can pretty easily be soldered and repaired. If the video cable is cut, you’ll need a new harness. Fortunately, they’re not too expensive. Here’s a pic.
Also, while I didn’t have a service engine soon light illuminated on my dash, I did have a saved code when I hooked the scanner up. I got a code P0430. Somehow, my car was missing the fuel cap, so I thought this might fix it. Bought a new cap, but no luck. That means its most likely the upstream or downstream oxygen sensor, or a catalytic converter. While this repair isn’t one I was expecting, I’m okay with it considering what I paid for the car. I got under the car and found the two sensor aren’t exactly easy to access. The downstream sensor is possible with some basic tools, but it takes some contorting. The upstream sensor is impossible without removing the catalytic converter which blocks its access. I had hoped to just try replacing the sensors before I ordered a new converter, but if I have to remove it anyway, I’m putting a new one in. The converter is just clamped in on the back, and held in with two studs on the front. The studs are pretty difficult to access and get enough leverage to break loose, so make sure you have plenty of flex head ratchets and extensions available. The upstream sensor is still difficult to remove even with the converter removed. You can access the clips and the sensor itself easy enough, but the plug is wedged tightly between the transmission and the transmission tunnel. I had to pry out the retainers that hold it to the transmission and then remove a lever on the bottom of the tranny to get enough clearance to unplug the sensor. Also, they changed sensors midway through 2010, but all the parts catalogs say this was done in 2011. Check which style you have before ordering new oxygen sensors.
Another thing I wanted to cover are the dash vents. They automatically open and close on this car. The far right one on my car does not open. After some research, I found this is typically due to a round plastic piece that attaches to the side of the actuator that either wears out or breaks. I took mine apart, and it wouldn’t operate even detached from the vent assembly, so I figured I had a worn out actuator. However, a replacement didn’t fix the problem, so I’ll need to figure out how to test the four wires going to the actuator. More to come on this.
Lastly, most of these cars seem to have curb rash on the wheels, as does mine. As Gary_Crosby mentioned in another post, it seems like most of these cars get bent rims on the 20" wheels due to the low profile tires. After looking at one of mine more closely, it looks like mine are slightly out of round too. Not a big deal to have repaired, but something to consider.
Hopefully this will help someone else at some point. I think this is going to be a great car once I get it licensed. During the little bit I’ve driven it thus far, it definitely put a smile on my face.