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Old 31st December 2018, 15:30   #556
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Default Re: 7 years of ownership - Checkpoint

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
A long trips is long overdue. Maybe by the end of this year
So this finally happened - and boy was it a trip or what!

So quite a few things have happened over the week
  • Eight servicing of the car done - and not a very great experience if you ask me (more on that later)
  • The long trip finally happened, even if it was only to serve a transport need. And possibly my longest non-stop trip too! (more on that later too)
  • The "sell-and-replace-by-bike" decision has been postponed indefinitely

As for the trip, this was a 1400 km 22 hour non-stop drive; a Mumbai - Pune - Bangalore - Chennai drive with the absolute amazing company of two complaining and loud cats all through the drive

But the good thing is the car is purring (pun intended) away just fine. There are a few hiccups wrt to the suspension but otherwise it's still a delight to drive long distances on this.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 31st December 2018 at 15:32.
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Old 1st January 2019, 19:37   #557
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Default The long trip home!

So a plan had to be construed to transport my pet cats to my home (@Chennai). Options were considered to even push this later during Jan or Feb. However moving cats to a new place has its own set of problems; I wish it was as fun as moving dogs (which itself is not easy). So a last minute plan was hatched - the road trip home. Looked for fellow companions; none were there; had to do this alone. I have traveled long distance on road with these buggers; from North Carolina to New Jersey actually so I knew what I had to do from a transportation perspective. Although that trip was a ~10 hours drive mostly through 8 or 10 lane interstate highways with minimal traffic; this was through a mix of 8 lanes to 2 lane roads with medium to heavy traffic and loads of diversions.

Decided to look for hotels that allow pets; none of them were available around the midpoint (Hubli or Ranebennur). A lone AirBnB provided me an option that was available; however, at the last minute I ruled it out as they had a dog which would bring in too many uncontrollable elements. I had done long(er) distance non-stop rides, solo (A Trip Down South : Pune - Goa - Bangalore - Chennai) and with co-drivers (The F1 Roadtrip : Pune to Noida), so it wasn't that much a concern.

So the plan was to drive non-stop.
With two very uncomfortable grown-up cats who literally hated being cooped up.
In a moving car.
Over a long weekend.
On two days before the New Year when literally everyone seemed to be heading towards Mahabaleshwar/Goa/south.

And an absolutely brilliant plan it was. My cats just loved it (/sarcasm_end)

The Summary
Distance: 1357 kms
Timelines: (Start) 9:00 am / (Stop) 7:00 am
Halts: ~3 hours (over 3 stops)
Average Speed: 71 kmph
Average Mileage: ~19kmpl
Toll Costs: Both my kidneys and my iPhone

The Route
Expressway: A few delays caused us to leave at 9 in the morning instead of the planned 5 am. Expressway was great, and we reached Pune in ~3 hours without much traffic.
Maharashtra:Pune city decided to show its colors as it took me over an hour to reach Katraj tunnel. The rest of the route till the border turned out to be a mixed bag as several detours, medium to heavy traffic, slow tractors filled with sugarcane causing long jams with every car trying to do a formula1 lap 1 style overtake and a steady stream of bikes from Satara onwards running on the highway without helmets and at times blocking the entire lane.
Karnataka: I was glad when we finally crossed the border into Karnataka around 4:00 pm; and as if a switch was turned on; the traffic magically disappeared and I could pick up speed. Belgaum, Dharwad, Hubli and others came and went, and surprisingly the cats had opted out to sleep / stay quiet all this time instead of making a fuss. Good roads, with a mix of 8 lanes to 2 laned (without divider) highways filled with numerous diversions with speed breakers (why?) but manageable most of the time. Traffic was a pain on the 2 lane sections, but otherwise much lesser than Maharashtra.
Bangalore: Entered the city ring road around 1 am and it took me about an hour or so to bypass through NICE road to Hosur. Mostly empty roads and amazing music on the radio made it a pleasant section.
Tamil Nadu:This surprised me to the core - TN roads were by far the best of the lot, through and through completely. A mix of 6 and 8 lane highways with minimal stopovers and clear signage. This was the section where I caught up on time and made speed, reaching outskirts of Chennai in the wee hours.

The Tolls
MH: Fleecing rates with no logic of distance vs rate charged. And the rates constantly seem to be increasing irrespective of the (lack of) work being done
KA: Every district, every city and town seems to be having a toll for itself. The amounts ranged from 20Rs to 180Rs, and I have receipts that are just a few minutes apart at times.
TN: The most manageable rates; and well paced out toll gates

The Stops
MH: Stopped at Shirwal for a few bites, ~15 mins at max.
KA: About an hour after Davanagere at 9 pm, I decided to take a halt and stopped outside a restaurant and slept off for an hour. Two amazing filter coffees later, and I was back on the road.
TN: Around 2:30 am, decided to take another halt and slept for an hour outside a restaurant/tea-stall that was open. No filter coffees this time, had to do with an extra sweet tea.

Overall, I loved driving in the night. Maharashtra was a pain with the 2 wheelers and sugarcane tractors, Karnataka with its numerous tolls and diversions. If I had to do this again (which I will have to get the car back to Mumbai), I'd start in the night entering KA daytime and reaching home by next day evening, or taking a halt during the day and driving again during the next night across MH. And the car performed well, as good as it did 6 years back on a similar trip from Pune to Chennai. Oh btw, the cats are settling in so that's a job well done.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 1st January 2019 at 19:57.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 17:28   #558
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Default Re: The long trip home!

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
The Summary
Distance: 1357 kms
Brilliant.

Get a Fastag from PayTM. Will make it easier to travel and you be surprised to save time and few bucks at non working tolls.

I was feeling proud doing 982 kms (few shy of 1K mark) in 14.5 hours at average speed of 71 kmph Mumbai-Jodhpur around mid December.

Take it from me, FE and DTE range of Vento TDi is unmatched.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 17:54   #559
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Default Re: 7 years of ownership - Checkpoint

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There are a few hiccups wrt to the suspension but otherwise it's still a delight to drive long distances on this.
My biggest grouch with my 6YO vento. Drives fantastic, no problems to date, except the suspension, the rear one specifically. The VW-AS&S folks are basically junk. They simply do not know how to sort out these issues, one the main reasons I sold one of the Vento a few years ago. I am planning to replace the second Vento too soon with anything other than a VW cause their AS&S is a pain in the rear. Yes I know I can look at after market stuff and an FNG to get this sorted out, but...
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Old 2nd January 2019, 18:33   #560
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Default Re: The long trip home!

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Originally Posted by el lobo 6061 View Post
Brilliant.

Get a Fastag from PayTM. Will make it easier to travel and you be surprised to save time and few bucks at non working tolls.
Haha - I guess a lot of them might not be working. Well I need to search out my RC then. Don't have the back side image copy to upload.

And yea, I'm already itching to get on to the road again. But only for night drives. I think that's going to be my go-to plan for future long drives.

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My biggest grouch with my 6YO vento. Drives fantastic, no problems to date, except the suspension, the rear one specifically. The VW-AS&S folks are basically junk. They simply do not know how to sort out these issues, one the main reasons I sold one of the Vento a few years ago. I am planning to replace the second Vento too soon with anything other than a VW cause their AS&S is a pain in the rear.
Well that's the perennial question, isn't it? Recently a friend who was upgrading to a sedan reached out to me for feedback on the Vento Tsi. Told her it's a fantastic car BUT for the AS&S. They tried every other sedan, and then finally booked the Vento.

Was messaging @nilesh, apparently his suspension's still working out fine (lucky guy!). Since the car's going to be a while in Chennai, I need to figure out a FNG out here.

Anyway if I get to sell this car, then the next purchase will be a bike, not a car for sure.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 20:00   #561
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Default re: My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!

Any photos of the cats in the car?
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Old 3rd January 2019, 06:52   #562
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Default re: My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!

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Originally Posted by Dragonheart22 View Post
Any photos of the cats in the car?
Nopes - they were in their pet carriers; hardly worth a photo, no?

If you want to see the cats, they have their own Instagram page

Last edited by ninjatalli : 3rd January 2019 at 06:53.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:03   #563
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Default Re: The long trip home!

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
So a plan had to be construed to transport my pet cats to my home (@Chennai).
Loved reading this. Can't imagine how you managed to keep the cats in order when you were driving!

The car is still a beauty to drive. Only with this car, can I think of doing a day trip from Bangalore to Hyderabad just to visit the new IKEA store!

Yes, a 1200 km round-trip in a day with a boot full of IKEA goodies and the fuel did not pinch my wallet.

Saw the photos, lovely cats!!

Last edited by nileshch : 3rd January 2019 at 09:27. Reason: added comment.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 11:40   #564
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Default Re: The long trip home!

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Loved reading this. Can't imagine how you managed to keep the cats in order when you were driving!
Well there were durations of silence and then durations of a cacophony of sounds in the car - two meowing/wailing cats being attempted to drowned down by Guns' N Roses & Metallica

Quote:
The car is still a beauty to drive. Only with this car, can I think of doing a day trip from Bangalore to Hyderabad just to visit the new IKEA store!
Oh yea easily! I did a Chennai - Trichy - Pondicherry - Chennai trip a week ago around the Christmas weekend in my dad's Ignis; found it so boring inspite of the coastal route. Instead this car makes any drive worth it.

It's a pity my parents refuse to drive a sedan; something of a small car mentality.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 11:52   #565
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Default re: My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!

Thanks for sharing the amazing write-up. This had me totally hooked! I have to agree that Vento Diesel is one hell of touring machine. My father-in-law has one and four of us (me, wife, in-laws) did a 750 km drive back home last year. The car pulls like a freight train and masks speed so well that one a long, straight and completely empty I totally lost track of speed until father-in-law reminded me to take a look at the speedo.

This car would have been my favourite if not for the damn hard clutch. I dread driving it in city traffic simply because of the clutch and the pain it causes in left leg. Rest, the car is fantastic!
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Old 1st February 2019, 09:42   #566
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Default re: My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!

So took out the car for a short city ride; she's been sitting in the garage for a while now. Turns out the ABS indicator is getting all lit up. No difference observed in the braking (yet) so my guess is one (or more) of the sensors have gone kaput.I really need to get it to one of the FNGs out here one of these days.

And today I decided to turn up the heater to maximum; I realized this was the first time I had used this function! Weirdly the central vents did not give out any air; only the side vents were letting out a relatively lukewarm air at a slow speed; even though the ACC had the temperature at the highest level with maximum fan speed. Ah, never mind; if I didn't find a use for it over the last 7 years, I ain't gonna use it now.

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Originally Posted by ksameer1234 View Post
T I have to agree that Vento Diesel is one hell of touring machine. ... The car pulls like a freight train and masks speed so well that one a long, straight and completely empty I totally lost track of speed until father-in-law reminded me to take a look at the speedo.
Completely agree - I hate driving my dad's Ignis on long distance rides; not because of it being a bad car (it's a great car!), but it doesn't give me the fun factor of my tdi.
Quote:
This car would have been my favourite if not for the damn hard clutch. I dread driving it in city traffic simply because of the clutch and the pain it causes in left leg. Rest, the car is fantastic!
True; but I have got used to it completely. Also I drive very clutch-light so not affected that much.
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Old 1st February 2019, 14:25   #567
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Default re: My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
And today I decided to turn up the heater to maximum; I realized this was the first time I had used this function! Weirdly the central vents did not give out any air; only the side vents were letting out a relatively lukewarm air at a slow speed; even though the ACC had the temperature at the highest level with maximum fan speed. Ah, never mind; if I didn't find a use for it over the last 7 years, I ain't gonna use it now.
I believe, for the first few minutes in the heater setting, the hot air is channeled to the floor vents to allow the hot air to rise. I always feel my feet going warm before I get hot air from the upper vents, when I use this function.
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Old 1st February 2019, 15:04   #568
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Default re: My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!

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Originally Posted by nileshch View Post
I believe, for the first few minutes in the heater setting, the hot air is channeled to the floor vents to allow the hot air to rise. I always feel my feet going warm before I get hot air from the upper vents, when I use this function.
Aha! Makes sense - hot air rising up; and also the side vents because it's much colder there. Damn, these germans do apply intuition and logic in their cars!
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Old 7th February 2019, 11:17   #569
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Default 8th Servicing, Steering and Suspension overhaul, ABS Sensor and more - Part 1

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[*]Eight servicing of the car done - and not a very great experience if you ask me (more on that later)
My go-to FNG for servicing the Vento had been S K Karzone, based out of New Panvel for the last two years. They were economical, had a good supply of OEM products and were upfront and transparent. But their garage being outside the city was a pain; as generally it took two separate trips for a servicing or a problem resolution; as they didn't offer pickup/drop services. So about the middle of last year, I asked some of the Mumbai mods on FNG options within the city and got quite a few options.

One of the suggestion was United Autotech, based out of Malad. Online reviews and the few mentions on the forum were positive, so when the time came up in Dec'18 to get the annual service done, I gave them a call and a visited up a few days later. Now to give credit to the situation, I told them upfront on the suspension issues and potential problems in steering; also the long pending brake pad changes in addition to the annual servicing. They did a test ride and confirmed my initial doubts and were to come back a day later after putting the car through all the checks.

The list of work was a lot; the suspension was totally gone, I was told to replace
- Front & rear shock absorbers, buffer kits, mounts
- Front link rod, balance rod bush
- Front lower arm assembly, arm ball joint
- Steering rack end, tie rod end, and a complete overhaul
- Front Brake pads & brake discs, brake overhaul

While I didn't question the above list, but I was surprised by the addition of rear shock absorbers, brake discs, and the higher price tag for the center AC vent (1700 Rs). Questioned and was told they were necessary, even skimming the discs was not recommended.

Was in a hurry (had the trip to Chennai planned); so told them to do the servicing, and the brake related changes (attached bill below). Told them I'll come back later for the suspension and steering work; I clearly wasn't comfortable and wanted a second opinion.

My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!-jai-prakash.jpg

Then on the day of pickup, I got a call saying they noticed leakage of the fuel and mentioned another part that had to be replaced (some 3500 INR cost). I wasn't convinced; I asked them to give me the part number as nearly a year back, even SK Karzone team had noticed some fuel on the lower part of the body and had diagnosed an injector pipe as the cause; which was replaced (attached bill below).

My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!-karzone-bill-.jpg

An hour later, apparently they found a similar part (used) and fixed it up at no extra cost.

Overall I found their work good and decently priced, but I wasn't fully convinced. I'd recommend them to only those who know what work is required on their car; else look for other options.
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Old 7th February 2019, 15:49   #570
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Default 8th Servicing, Steering and Suspension overhaul, ABS Sensor and more - Part 2

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
The list of work was a lot; the suspension was totally gone, I was told to replace
- Front & rear shock absorbers, buffer kits, mounts
- Front link rod, balance rod bush
- Front lower arm assembly, arm ball joint
- Steering rack end, tie rod end, and a complete overhaul
- Front Brake pads & brake discs, brake overhaul

....

Overall I found their work good and decently priced, but I wasn't fully convinced.
I had started inquiring around for local FNGs and one of the suggestions that came up from @VW2010 was a VW specialist, Jay Prakash (VW, Skoda & Audi Specialist Mechanic - Jai Prakash (Chennai)).

Also a month after the long drive from Mumbai to Chennai, the ABS sensor light started coming up. This was a known issue with the VW cars; several Ventos on the forum have had their sensors going out once they crossed 50k-60k kms mark.

Finally called Jay Prakash a few days back and got the car to his workshop near Perambur. Did a short drive, and he confirmed the suspension and steering issues. I gave him a headsup on the list of parts suggested by United Autotech, he suggested that he'll get the car checked and reconfirm on only the parts that do require to be changed. He was quite vocal on the point that rear shocks (generally) last longer and do not need to be changed. Felt he was a decent chap, handed over the car to him.

A day later I got the list of parts and an indicative figure (35k). I added one more part - the power window switch(es) as they were not functioning; especially the left side switch.

The work took 2 days and I finally got the car back today morning; although lighter by 32k INR. In addition to the suspension and steering work, the right front tire ABS sensor was replaced and the entire power window unit, and an oil pressure switch that was leaking oil (again!).

My Shadow Blue VW Vento TDI. EDIT: SOLD after 8 years, 80000+ km!-jay-prakash-bill.jpg

The car feels more firm; although I do need to do a long drive to validate the improvement on the suspension and steering. Weirdly, the clutch and brake have turned out to be a little more hard than usual. I told him about this, he was not able to explain/figure out why that would happen. This is not definitely a generic "feel"; like Niki Lauda's rear, I do have a sensitive foot that is able to sense something that's changed Also I was driving this car till 2 days back, so it's not that I have got used to any other car.

Any views on this?


Edit: On a side note, I never got around to use the Chennai bus transport over the last 3-4 years. This is surprising as most of my childhood travel within the city was always using the local bus transport. This week, I got to do it twice! Ah, the small joys of opting for a 7 Rs ticket in a mostly empty bus over a ~300 Rs Uber drive

Last edited by ninjatalli : 7th February 2019 at 16:15.
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