Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Service Complete

    Posted on February 27th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I picked-up the G8 GT from the shop today. Final diagnosis:

    Inspected found code P0442 EVAP small leak, P0455 EVAP large leak purge and seal system. Found not holding vacuum. Hooked up EVAP machine. Smoke EVAP system found smoke coming from top of tank. Lower TNK found vent seal on top of tank leaking. Replaced tank. Recheck. Clear code all ok.

    The drive home was SO much more enjoyable… It is good to be back in the G8!

  • Grand Prix For Sale

    Posted on February 25th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Checking out the dealer’s website where I bought my G8 GT I found the Grand Prix I traded-in up for sale. Quite a bit more than I got for trade-in (as expected)…

    2002 Pontiac Grand Prix 4dr Sdn GT Silver Sedan 4 Dr.. A Pontiac

    I wonder how long it lasts and what they actually sell it for. I also wonder if they took care of the vibration at speed, the slipping transmission (once at temperature), the ‘low coolant’ indicator, or any of the other issues it was having…

  • Gas Tank Replacement

    Posted on February 24th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I got a call from the dealer and it turns out the gas tank needs to be replaced. I hoped that it would be something simpler, but I guess it’s good to get this fixed and fixed right (rather than having to make several trips to the dealer just to replace the tank in the end). Things should be back together Friday, so it looks like I’ll be stuck in this rental car till then. At least it’s a Chevy Equinox and not something like a Geo Metro!

  • Fuel Leak!

    Posted on February 24th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I am sitting in the waiting room at Hilltop Pontiac writing this. It looks like there is a fuel leak! Good news: They found it. Bad news: They need to drop the gas tank to get to it. I am now waiting for my rental car…

    Hopefully it’s something ‘simple’ to fix and not anything that would require replacing the gas tank. Last night I read a few threads on about gas odors and gas tank problems. Seems like if they need to order a replacement tank it could take up to a week!

  • Check Engine

    Posted on February 23rd, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    600 miles on the car and my first check engine light. Driving to work I was playing around in the ‘Engineering Mode’ watching the AFM turn on/off… so I wonder if this has something to do with it? I called OnStar and they ran a remote diagnosis that came back ‘ignition fault’. The operator suggested tightening the gas cap (strange, I filled-up last week and it has been tight ever since). On the way home from work I got a ‘Low Fuel’ notice and figured I would fill-up and see if that changed anything. After the fill-up I still have the check engine light… and when I parked I noticed the smell of gasoline. I grabbed my Father’s nose (and the rest of him came along too) and we went sniffing around. He could definitely smell the odor of gasoline… and today is a semi-windy day, so it’s not like it’s a small drip or anything

    I called the dealer’s service department and will be bringing the car by tomorrow morning.

  • Photos: Del Puerto Canyon Rd.

    Posted on February 21st, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Today on my drive I stopped several times on Del Puerto Canyon Rd. to take some photos of the G8 GT.

    [svgallery name=”20090221″]

  • Saturday Drive: Mines Rd. to Patterson

    Posted on February 21st, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    There has been no rain for the past few days, but I was unfortunately stuck at work (how come ‘I want to go for a drive’ is not an excuse for a day-off?). Forecasters put the rain returning at 30% by 2pm and 100% my early evening. I wanted to get the G8 GT out into some dry curves before it got wet again.

    Last night I sat down with Google Maps and planned out several routes around my area. The routes that I planned-out both were designed to avoid freeways and maximize two-lane roads.

    Total Distance: 179 miles
    Driving Time: 6 hours 23 min

    View Larger Map


    I woke-up early (for me) this morning, had a quick breakfast, and hit the road by 8:30am. I wanted to be well into my trip before the rains started. I stopped at the corner gas station and topped-off the tires to 35psi (OnStar had reminded me that the left side tires were at 33psi the other day). After making sure everything was ship-shape (whatever that means) I was off!

    A few weeks back I did the drive from Dublin to Sunol on Foothill Blvd. (something I will do again now that I have the G8 GT), so this time I wanted something a little different. I was happy to find Pleasanton-Sunol Rd. which parallels I-680S. It’s a nice wide two-lane road that runs along a set of railroad tracks. There were a few bikers out, but with a nice shoulder on the road it wasn’t a problem. When I reached Sunol I headed toward Hwy-84 E, which has been turned into an expressway compared to the windy road it was just a year ago. Pulling on to Hwy-84 I found myself stuck behind a slow motorist… I’m talking barely 40mph in a 50mph zone (which should be at 55mph)… I sat back and waited. When the road straightened-out a little the double-yellow broke into a passing opportunity. I put the foot the floor and pulled-out for the pass, the ‘alter-ego’ of the G8 GT woke-up and off I went! I’m sure I could have made the pass in my Grand Prix, but it wouldn’t have been done with nearly as much style. At this point I figured that I’d head out towards Mines Rd.

    I have been wanting to drive out Mines Rd. all week. I have driven a few miles that direction several times before, but I recently learned of a route that continues all the way to Pattterson (or San Jose via Mt. Hamilton). This was one of the routes that I had mapped-out last night.

    My biggest concern with this route was the long sections of one-lane roads, but it turned-out to not be a problem. The first part of Mines Rd. is a nice two-lane stretch that runs on the wall of a canyon. There are a nice mix of sweeping and wide turns, and the traffic (both on-coming and bicycle) was very light today. I found myself behind a pick-up at one point, but he quickly pulled over and let me pass. After about 10 miles the road turns into one lane with several blind corners (the area I was concerned about).

    The one-lane section was a lot of fun to drive, but you really do have to be careful in making the blind corners. There is often room to move over and have two cars on the road, but it could get ugly if both cars were trying to be in the same place at the same time. After a little while the road moves from being on the wall of the canyon to the bottom, including two ‘river’ crossings. This time of the year there was lots of green and even some flowers. About 28 miles up Mines Rd. you reach ‘The Junction’ to Hwy-130… Right takes you to San Jose and Left takes you on Del Puerto Canyon Rd. towards Patterson.

    I really enjoyed the drive up Mines Rd. and kept thinking to myself, “if this was only a one-way road”. I think there should be a rally type event here…. call it “One-Way for a Day” and have cars set-off 10 minutes apart. The speed limit on the road is 45mph, more than fast enough through most parts, so people wouldn’t even be speeding while driving ‘spirited’. Knowing that you could take a corner at a safe speed (for the corner) and not worry about finding yourself face-to-face with another vehicle, would make the drive very enjoyable (not that it wasn’t anyhow… just more so).

    The G8 GT really handled the corners well. I have the 19″ wheels and summer-only performance tires that came with the Sport package… but I was still impressed for a 4-Door car weighing over 4300lbs. Despite some dirt/gravel on the road I never had any slippy moments. Coming from the front wheel drive Grand Prix, the lack of overstear (especially under heavy acceleration) was a joy! I had the G8 in ‘Sport Mode’ the whole time, and while there were a few places that I wish it had not down/up shifted, it did a great job overall. I was also really impressed with the seats as, despite hard left/right turns, I never found myself moving around.

    A quick note: I had been planning on stopping at ‘The Juntion‘ for a quick break, but was ‘in-the-groove’ of driving so kept going. But it is nice to know that you can be out in the middle of no where and still grab something to eat/drink mid-drive.

    Del Puerto Canyon Rd. starts out as a very nice two-lane road and continues 24 miles to Patterson. The start of the road is generally well maintained, but there were a few pine cones or other debris in the road to watch for. About 8 miles in there is a off-road park, so you may need to watch out for trucks hauling dirt bikes. Going East I didn’t have anyone in my way (they all appeared to be coming from Patterson to get to the park), but you never know what you’ll find. While I’m talking about people on the roads, I came across quite a few bicyclists once I got on Del Puerto Canyon Rd. Everyone was friendly, but something to be thinking about.

    I stopped a few places along the road and took some photographs of the G8 GT in an environment other than a parking garage. I’m sure I got a few strange looks from the passing motorists as I went climbing-up a hill to get a different angle. After I finished with the photos I set back out on the drive.

    Somewhere in the middle of Del Puerto Canyon Rd. things got a little narrow and the road was quite dirty (orange-ish colored dirt on the roads from the rains). Again, nothing the G8 couldn’t handle, but I did take it a little slower just in case. One of the really nice things about the end of this road is the canyon opens up and you get into more open grassy hills (compared to the dirty/rocky ones higher-up). It makes for a lovely spring drive. I’m sure in the summer this route would have less dirt/water on the roads, but the brown wouldn’t be as scenic.

    I stopped in Patterson to get some lunch then headed back up I-5 towards Tracy. The second route I had planned called for me to go out Corall Hollow Rd., but I decided that Mines Rd. would be more fun. Well, Corall Hollow Rd. is only a few miles up I-5 from Patterson… and goes directly back to Livermore. PERFECT… Two great curvy roads in one day!

    While Corall Hollow Rd. had some great curves, it also has more traffic. There is another off-road park here and there were many trucks heading that way. The speed limit is also a bit low for ‘spirited’ driving. I took this opportunity to relax a little and just drive along. Oh yeah, this is a good time to point out that the XM Radio didn’t loose connection on this entire drive! There were a few places where it spotted in/out for a second, but I was surprised it didn’t go out completely for long periods of time.

    At this point I was really happy to see that the rain had not arrived. I decided to take a spin around the hills to the east of Livermore. These are all two-lane and have some nice curves/elevation changes. Not many cars, but quite a few bicycles. I did the reverse direction of the road my Father test drove my car on and it was fun. Once I hit Altamont Pass Rd. I figured I’d take it out towards Byron and check-out the windmills. This is a very driver friendly road with unique views here and there. Not really long enough, but something nice other than I-580E.

    I turned off of Altamont Pass Rd. (which turned into Grant Line Rd.) on to Mountain House Rd. This is a straight shot towards Byron and what use to be a really cool photo location. At the end of Mountain House Rd. there is a set of train tracks that has had old train cargo containers just sitting there (it’s even in the Google Street View). When I arrived there I was shocked to see that the train cars had all been removed! Ug, so much for those photos.

    After the disappointment of not seeing the train cars I decided that I would head towards home. Rather than just taking Altamont Pass Rd. back, as I had planned the night before, I decided to head North a little farther to Vasco Rd. Vasco Rd., like Hwy-84, is one of those roads that use to have great curves but was changed to an expressway for safety. It does make for a relaxing drive, if you are after that sort of thing, but is quite bland compared to what it use to be. Wow… I sound like an old fart talking about the ‘good ole days’.

    The sky had started getting darker, so I figured the rain would be arriving soon. I still felt like driving so when I reached the roads towards the North side of Livermore I decided to take the ‘long way’ back home (rather than just jumping on I-508W). I looked these roads up the other day at work (dreaming of driving the G8 at lunch has become a common thing). On my way home I came across a Turkey Vulture in the middle of the road feeding on a fresh squirrel. I so wish I had my long lens with me, the shots would have been great… then again, as I was driving around the curves all day it would have been getting thrown around my trunk, so probably it for the best that I didn’t have it with me.

    I stopped by my parent’s house to share the tales of my trip (and pick-up some literature my Father printed out about the Active Fuel Management system on the G8 GT). When I reached their house I took a moment to review my fuel economy for the day, and I was shocked… 21.2mpg! I was seriously impressed that a full day of driving up and down hills with the car in sport mode and I was still able to manage over 20mpg! Way to go G8 GT!

    After a long, 6 and 1/2 hour drive (heck, I could have made it to LA!), I felt really good. I’m very impressed with the overall feel of the G8 GT. Even after many hours of being thrown around curves neither I, or the car, were tired! I can’t wait until the next weekend without rain. Nor can I wait until the summer when some of the coastal roads are less hazardous.

  • Friendly Drive

    Posted on February 16th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    There were a few drizzles this morning, but I wanted to show my new car to a friend. I drove by her house and picked her up for a ‘quick’ spin. I had planned on a nice loop along Palomares Rd. from Fremont up towards Dublin. I checked things out the night before on Google Maps and it looked to be some nice curves and mostly two lanes.

    Total Distance: 53.3 miles
    Driving Time: 1 hours 17 min

    View Larger Map


    I drove down to Fremont on the freeway and stopped at my friend’s house. I had to do the customary ‘show off the car’ for the family. Everyone was very impressed. We headed out towards Niles Canyon Rd. I was trying to be really reserved with the throttle, as I wanted to show the conservative/refined side of the G8 GT. Once we hit Niles Canyon I gave it a little more, but the speed limit is a little low for how smooth/flowing the road really is. The road runs at the bottom of a nice canyon paralleling a river and some railroad tracks. It is a really nice and relaxing drive for being right in the middle of the SF Bay Area. Unfortunately I missed my turn-off for Palomares so just kept going all the way to Sunol before turning around. This time I kept an eye out for the turn (just past a large railroad bridge) and snapped the car around the tight (>90deg) right-hander… and to my surprise there was a minivan driving towards me in my lane! To give him (or her) credit, there was a fallen tree limb in the road, but it did require me to slow. In hindsight that probably was a good thing… the winter rains (despite not being nearly enough) left the road scattered with rocks. After a few more turns one lane was closed briefly due to a landslide… and not far after that another rockslide spilled across my lane. We decided to turn around, as I didn’t want to find myself running into anything too damaging. I dropped my friend off and headed home. Getting on I-680N from Mission Blvd. gave me an opportunity to give the G8 GT some more throttle and it responded perfectly. I happened to be on the phone at the time (hands free of course) with my friend and she was like, “I heard that”.

    The few turns of Palomares I was able to drive were nice and the loop I was looking to drive seems perfect for a quick outing… This is a road I’m surely going to try again in the summer!

  • Photos: BART Parking Structure

    Posted on February 16th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Having failed taking quick photos yesterday, I wanted to at least get something that I could show to friends/family. There rain was still around, but there was a slight break mid-day. I went next door to the BART parking structure to take a few quick photos.

    [svgallery name=”20090216″]

  • The Drive Home

    Posted on February 15th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I picked-up my new G8 GT this morning from Hilltop Pontiac! After taking care of the final paperwork, it was time to say goodbye to the Grand Prix and hello to the G8 GT. It was raining all morning so I got a little wet transferring things between cars, but I’m not a witch (or warlock?). The sales person who helped me yesterday walked me through the controls in the driver’s compartment and went over a few more items on the rest of the car. It was a nice touch, as I didn’t think ahead and bring home the owner’s manual last night to read. After activating OnStar I headed off for home. I had decided the night before to take a more scenic route home than just I-580E.

    Total Distance: 97.2 miles
    Driving Time: 2 hours 47 min

    View Larger Map


    I started out going north to get to Hwy-4… basically the same route I took on the test drive (minus the loop around the mall). Hwy-4 was a nice change from the 5-lane freeways I normally drive on. Being ‘winter’ in California the hills are nice and green, so the scenery was very pleasant. There was a consistent sprinkle of rain, which gave me the chance to learn the windshield wiper controls. Once I got to I-680S it was back to the multi-lane concrete jungle that is California.

    When I reached Sycamore Valley Rd. I took the exit and drove around some rural roads on a back way to Dublin. The roads were all two lanes with sweeping curves, but not much of a challenge. I was fortunate to not get stuck behind and slow traffic, so that helped keep it enjoyable. When I popped-out in Dublin I figured rather than going home I’d show my parents the new car. I used this excuse to drive to Livermore and try out some of the back roads off North Livermore Ave.

    I am quite familiar with these roads, as I often go out that way for quick photo shoots and to release squires. The rain had stopped for a little so I figured I could grab a few quick photos… with my camera phone (oh the disgrace). None of the phones turned out to be anything that I’d ever want to show to anyone, but what can I expect from a camera phone.

    After the photos I wanted to see how the G8 GT handles starts and stops. I did a few stops and really liked the brake feel and how stable things felt. I also put some throttle into it… WOW! The best way I can describe this car is a split personality… really, two cars in one. There is a nice and reserved 4-Door sedan for moving people and cruising around town… and then there is the car that reviles its self when you give it more than half-throttle. This 6.0-liter V8 can really put your butt in the seat!

    I made it to my Parent’s house and showed-off the car. My Father saw a G8 GT in Magnetic Grey Metallic and one with the 19” sport rims, but not my exact combination. My Mother had never seen a G8 and was really impressed with the whole package. I took her for a little trip around the corner… the only thing she didn’t like was the very small area the windshield wipers miss (directly in her view). I then went out for a longer drive with my Father. After driving up to the top of the Altamont Pass, I pulled-over and let my Father take the G8 GT back home.

    We drove back on S. Flynn Rd., a route that my Father has ridden his bicycle on several times. The road was a little damp, but nothing too bad. The G8 handled the tight curves perfectly and when my Father put in some extra throttle turning onto Patterson Pass Rd. the traction control came in nicely. He was generally very impressed.

    After some delicious French Onion Soup for lunch I headed home. The G8 GT took the first trip into my parking space. I like the turning radius when it comes to maneuvering around the tight spaces of the garage. One of the mods that I’m really looking forward (or backwards?) to is the Video in Motion (VIM) upgrade and a back-up camera.

    The G8 GT is home… I can’t wait until the rain goes away and I can get it (her?) out onto some curvy roads!