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#508 of 537 Clarity on break-in, shifting, new car care
Jul 15, 2000 (7:56 pm)
Hello, Focus owners. I am considering a Zx3 myself, and I was wondering how it compares with Honda Civic Si, or VW GTI GLX, disregarding the difference in price. I like the idea of getting a $17k or $22k experience for $13k.
Let me share my knowledge about breaking in a car and general car care with the newbie car owners (enthusiasts in the case of ZX3 owners). My qualifications for giving such advice are: I read a lot of technical and auto repair literature, do my own car repair, have a mechanical engr. degree and I work at Ford. Consequently, I know very little about things besides cars, hehe.
Anyway, just follow the owner's manual about break-in period and technique. In general, cars are broken-in the same way. Light braking, light acceleration, varied speed, keep RPM under 3500. First oil change after ~3000 miles, then follow the owner's manual.
Same goes for maintenance. Follow the owner's manual. No need for excessive oil changes, excessive being every 3000 miles. You're beating a dead horse by changing it so often. No need for synthetic oils either, unless specified.
Tip: When having trouble shifting into reverse, go into fourth or 5th gear, then shift. By doing this, you are stopping the layshaft from spinning. Sometimes you have to move the car in neutral too, to line up the reverse-gear's teeth. Shifting into reverse should be easy and quiet.
Some safe driving tips:
- Practice emergency braking somewhere safe. That is, not locking the wheels and maintaining that limit. It's like balancing yourself. It is called threshold braking. Do this in dry and rain (quite important to know the limits of your car in the rain, b/c the limit is more easily exceeded).
- Practice circling your car as fast as possible until your tires make noise, to know the limits of your car. Do this in both dry and rain. Be safe about it of course (a wide open smooth parking lot).
- Practice scanning your eyes far ahead, assessing the traffic, planning your path, preparing for emergency stopping.
- Check the tire pressures, especially after tire work. Those guys often overinflate it, which can be dangerous for handling and braking.
- These tips are from race car driving, and apply to road driving as well.
Less important tips:
- Don't be scared to rev the engine to near- redline after ~2000 miles break-in. It's fun too.
- Do not accelerate hard while the steering wheel is turned all the way. It wears out the drive shaft joints.
- Do not overfill the oil
- Do the easy maintenance yourself if you can! Like oil change (to avoid overfilling), brake pads, tire rotation (to avoid over-torquing the wheel nuts).
You must be a budding enthusiast to have read this far, hehe. What do you think?
Jul 15, 2000 (8:31 pm)
Most of your points are well-taken, but I don't agree with your views re: oil change intervals and use of synthetics. Most people use their cars under conditions generally referred to as "severe service" (stop and go, short trips without adequate warmup, etc.), so I've always used "3000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first", as my rule of thumb on oil and filter changes. I, too, have an engineering degree, and several friends who are lubricant chemists (one at Mobil, another at Pennzoil). Their advice, and my personal experience with race and competition engines has made me a believer in synthetic lubricants.
Jul 15, 2000 (9:10 pm)
Gotta go with silver bullet on the oil issue. Infact just read a article in paper by triple A that most vehicles are driven under severe service conditions. Stop and go and short trips. This is especially true of commute to work travel. I get in my ZX3 in the morning, travel about 2 miles, with only 3 stops, at 30 mph, then hit expressway at 65/70 mph for about 30 miles. This is an ideal situtation.
The important thing to me is that I want instant oil circulation. Would like the oil coating everything inside motor before I turn the key, but that isn't possible, so synthetic is the next best to this. Plus from everything technical that I read, synthetic appears to hold up best under severe conditions. And its pour point is excellent for the upstate New York winters.
Thanks Otto and Silver Bullet,
#511 of 537 my problems
Jul 15, 2000 (9:36 pm)
I appreciate all the input you have givon on my shifter problem. I just want to let you know that this started after 2500 miles on the car. I had no problem unill just last week. Now the shifter gets stuck in 1st,or reverse and also gets stuck in netural trying to shift into reverse or first. I end up stalling the car when i cant shift out of reverse. Also I noticed a few times that if im stopped at a light and I have the clutch depressed and im in 1st gear and my foot on the break the car just wants to go. If I lift my foot off of the break slightly the car starts going w/o gas and I don't mean slightly it feels like it wants to take off.
I know how my car behaves normaly and these two occurances are not normal. Oh plus they still havent fixed the loose window or ratlling sound.
Jul 15, 2000 (9:58 pm)
There is a pre-oil unit sold if it bothers you.
#513 of 537 Redline synth. oil for A/T
Jul 15, 2000 (10:10 pm)
Can we feed our automatic transmissions with the Redline synthetic?
If yes, what type of Redline can we use?
Jul 15, 2000 (10:32 pm)
Throw out bearing?
Chinzy things on this car make me believe my clutch will act up again also.
Wait until a FEW problems show up.
]Deal with them one at a time.
Record and document everything!
And when you get really upset then make noise.
I mean make REAL NOISE!
One item i see is "hesitation"...various rpms?
But a common problem. Correct?
Poor mileage? Yes.....no where near what we thought. I also agree.
Does anyone have A/C problems?
No. It seems.
Maybe when i have time i will bring up my beefs.
Dealer posts the complaints>onto Blah Blah Blah..
A year goes by.....BLAH BLAH..........
Then the words "EXPIRED".
#515 of 537 re: ottos- oil changes
Jul 16, 2000 (12:21 am)
i would tend to agree with ottos if we were talking
an 8 cyl.engine.but no way,no how with the four.
pushing the limit on relatively cheap preventive
maintenance makes no sense.your engine oil,be it
refined or synthetic is its lifeblood.a good point
made was concerning proper tire pressure,a very
often overlooked detail.i plead guilty on that one.
#516 of 537 zx3beast....."1500 mile Z Report"
Jul 16, 2000 (2:00 am)
First, lemme thank you, and say I stored the link you gave me in Favorites.......
Soon as I have a chance I'll make the switch to Redline Synthetic manual tranny lube.
(Also thanks again S/B).
NOTE: Redline has synthetic lubes for Automatic trannys. I forgot name of poster who asked, hope he sees this.
MY Z AT 1500 MILES ON TACHOMETER.....
Car being broken-in ... gently. At the speeds it will be "mostly seeing" during its life-time. No "near-redlining" of engine. No "screaming acceleration". In other words.... no hot-rodding.
First oil/filter change 600 mi. (get the shavings out). Ford 5w30 conventional oil. Second change 1200 mi. Mobil-1 Synthetic 5w30. Final "break-in" change will be at 3000. Mobil-1. ("Recommended intervals" will be followed from then on).
The z is still running flawless at 1500 miles. I mean, not a single squeak, not a rattle, not a failure, not a hiccup -- since Day One.
I've owned a lot of cars (some fine ones like VW-GTI) but this sweet little z, is my first car "flawless from the get-go".
Mileage (80%hi-way) has gone from 29mpg (34 total miles on tach) to 31 (1100 total mi. on tach). I'll be checking it again, next tank fillup.
5-spd Tranny was a little tight for first few hundred miles, even a little rough, sticky, balky at times... but by the time it had 1000 mi, it was shifting much more smoothly ... now shifts nicely, easily, continuing to improve steadily as mileage builds up.
"Engine pep" (accelerating from standstill, or from low speed) seemed "lacking" for first 700 miles. Heck, to tell truth -- my engine was a "Wimp"!! I was kinda disappointed.
Around 1000 miles, I noticed it seemed to be coming to life.
At 1500 ... engine now accelerates (from dead stop or low speeds) with Authority!-- with real Punch! wow. I am PLEEZED! No more, a wimp!
Idling: Engine is still as quiet as it was on Day One. (Remember much earlier, one of my first posts -- where I remarked on it)?
Sitting at red traffic lite, I sometimes glance at Tach to see if engine is still running. It's that quiet, that vibration-free (my GTI was NEVER this quiet). Very pleased here.
"Tracking down road"/"Handling" etc.... tracks down the road like a cat. No wandering. No pulling to either side. Responsive, precise steering. Handles like a VW (that's a real compliment!).
Brakes: Solid feel, stops car rapidly with authority. Not mushy. Quiet. No squeaking from Day One.
Autumn-color z, gleams under 3 coats of Meguiar's Liquid Car Wax. Easy on, very little rubbing required. (Bottle says "most reflective car wax in our 90-year history"). I'm pleased with it. And with RainX "Self-Drying-Carwash".
Yes indeed, 'Beast, you were right -- "the z is a sweet lil' Road Machine".