Now the EPA would have us believe that their intent in today’s announced settlement was to get all the VW “dirty diesels” cleaned up or off the road. Then they made the clean up mods so onerous that most of these TDI “dirty diesels” will get bought back and scrapped instead, especially the early ones like mine with no SCR system that will be most difficult to bring into compliance. So they made VW sweeten the buyback offer, and VW spoiled me even further by consenting to this bribery. Then EPA took a nap when it came to adjusting the buyback offer for mileage, and is giving us a bit over two years after they finally agree on a final settlement, maybe by the end of the year if they’re lucky.

I paid $25,100 for my ’13 TDI wagen and about $27,000 with the sales taxes added on. When ever VW, EPA, FTC, CARB, and all the horde of mooching lawyers get their act together and start the recall they’ll give me $25,757 for it despite there being 34,000 odd miles on the odometer. If I drag my feet through the whole two year recall period and run up the mileage to 60,000, they’ll still give me the same $25,757 for it.Yup, VW and the EPA et al have given me a 60 month lease on a 40 MPG light truck cleverly disquised as a hatchback for $20 a month! And if I run it another 70k miles for a total of 130k miles when I surrender it 2+ years hence, I still get $20,537 for it… Yup, only $5220 for an extra 70,000 miles, or a 7 cent a mile extra mileage charge!

So instead of motivating me to get this “dirty diesel” off the road ASAP, the EPA has given me financial reward for running the wheels off it for as long as possible. And if I change my mind at 130,000 miles and a fix is available, I get $5807 and a 48 months more warranty on the engine and emissions system. And the deal may sweeten with age… If 85% of the “dirty diesels” aren’t fixed or off the road by that 2+ year out deadline, VW faces some hefty per car additional penalties… Which means the “bounty”on VW “dirty diesels” can only get bigger.

So EPA et al, thanks for contributing to Gearhead Grrrl’s increasing highway delinquency. It gets worse… Buy the time they make me give back my TDI, I’ll be so addicted to diesel torque that with no new VW diesels available, nothing less than a torquey 210 HP GTI will do. And as I’m getting too old to shovel snow (BS excuse, but it’ll work), I’ll need to upgrade further to a Golf R with its four wheel drive and 300 HP. So first you’ve made a polluter out of me, and now my criminal career is progressing to highway hooligan.

Officer, the EPA made me do it…

For immediate release:

(Florence) Informed anonymous insider sources have revealed under condition of anonymity that VW AG (VW) will tomorrow become the premier automotive sponsor of As a result of the terms of an out of court settlement between VW and the EPA, CARB, and a bunch of tailpipe chasing trial lawyers, VW will provide with the free use of a VW Golf Variant TDI “Sportswagon” for appropriately five years, retroactive to December 2014.¬† Also included in the rumored deal are test drives in the VW Golf R, and “they’d better give me a drive in an Audi R8 too if they wanna win me over from the Ford GT”, says CEO Gearhead Grrrl. The agreement is subject to extension if VW cannot meet the EPA’s target for 85% participation in the TDI recall/buyback within two years, or at least that’s the rumor.


(VW is a big ass corporation that owns VW, Skoda, SEAT, Audi, Bentley, Ducati, MAN, Lamborghini, Scania, Porsche, and probably a few other things I forgot)

( is a tiny but uppity little blog covering just about anything that moves, and is owned and sponsored by no one. Heck, even Gearhead Grrrl herself can’t seem to keep this blog under control!)

This communication contains highly speculative statements, wild speculation, flights of absurd imagination, and outright BS! It’s a good thing ain’t on the stock market so I can get away with this stuff. VWAG is a for real corporation, please don’t rely on my speculation regarding there stock and it’s value, or lack of same.


Seems an infectious epidemic of stupid nationalism is spreading everwhere these days… EPA’s protective regulations, FIA’s petty Le Mans rules, and China’s ban on foreign ownership while they’ll pirate anybody’s product. Couple that with the prexisting “nostalgia as a way of life” that we’re seeing in America and now Britain to, and it’s no wonder a truly dumb presidential hopeful and referenda to undo history have been ejected by the primordal swamp ooze.

Do Brits really want to spend much of their waking hours dealing with Lucas electris and SU carbs again? Had not Britain joined the Common Market in the early 70s, their only choices in cars now would be 70s Cortinas and Vauxhauls badly built on worn out tooling…Britain is simply too small a market to justify new designs for it alone. Exports would be impossible, dated designs carrying huge retaliatory tariffs simply aren’t competitive. Without Britain being in the EEC, there’d be no Brit bikes built anymore and the only decent cars on British roads would be registered to addressses on the continent.

Thanks to the Common Market AKA EEC Britain now makes more cars than they did in the swinging 60s. A new Mini is still built at the home of Morris, Cowley. Leyland Assembly plant now builds all the Paccar DAF/KW/Peterbuilt medium trucks using a cab shared with Volvo/Renault and made in the Benelux, IIRC. Many of those trucks leave Leyland with Cummins engines made in Britain or America, and American made Allison automatics. And while Paccar is HQ’d in Washington state, all their medium trucks are designed and developed right their at Leyland.

So my Brit readers, if you really want to go back to the bad old days of spending your days trying to bring rotted Marinas back to life ’cause your on the dole and got nothing else to do, vote for the BrExit…

Honestly, I was worried… This is the Ford GTs rookie season on the racetracks, and in early season race starts the GT often didn’t finish. And was it even fast enough to win? Heck, at early LeMans qualifying the ‘Vettes and 911s were almost as fast. Not to mention Ford’s old endurance racing nemesis Ferrari and ex-Ford brand Aston Martin too. This had the makings of another Dearborn debacle, with a massive PR exercise ruined by DNFs and shamefully slow times by any Ford GTs left. I had nightmares of distraught Ford execs leaping to their deaths from Ford’s skyscraper “glass house” HQ…

The rest of the world’s answer to NASCAR and the SCCA all wrapped up into one sanctioning agency, the French HQd FIA, wasn’t doing Ford any favors either. Just like in NASCAR, build a faster mousetrap and the FIA will reward you with restrictor plates, unwanted ballast, and maybe trim your wings too. So when the ‘Vettes showed they’re speed in qualifying, the FIA slowed them down more than a bit. I’d been hoping all along that Ford had been sandbagging, and sure enough on the last day of qualifying the Ford GTs ripped off some fast laps that darn near put the rest of the class on the trailer. Suggesting that maybe the FIA throttled GM’s ‘Vettes first so it wouldn’t look like they were singling out Ford the next day, the FIA responded to Ford’s even faster laps calling their bluff with similar throttling, while handing the Ferrari’s a token few kilos of ballast. This instantly made the Ferrari’s competitive, and probably raised the blood pressures to levels not seen since the 60s in the “glass house”… The FIA used similar nationalistic twisting of it’s “rules” to deny the Brits Monte Carlo rally wins in the 60s, and Ford might well have outright won several 60s rallies if not for the FIA’s “handicapping” the overall results to the benefit of the smaller engined Euro brands.

So Ford brought 4 GTs to the start of the Le Mans 24 hour race, competing with a horde of pro and amateur Ferraris, Porsches, ‘Vettes, etc.. After the throttling the GM sponsored pro ‘Vettes couldn’t quite match the Ford GTs for speed, and the only thing in their class was a couple pro Ferraris. One of the two ‘Vettes was out thanks to a crash, the Porsches were too slow and unreliable too, and only one Ferrari fast enough to stay on the same lap as the Ford GTs survived. With around a third of the GT pro class dropping out due to crashes or mechanical breakdowns, 4 Ford GTs started the race and the same 4 Ford GTs were still flying along after 24 hours of racing. Meanwhile, in the “funny car” prototype class, Toyota humbled the Audis¬† but had to settle for 2nd place when their leading car died on the last lap and let the 2nd place Porsche past.

So in it’s rookie year, the new Ford GT sandwiched a lone Ferrari winning 1st, 3rd, and 4th places with the fourth Ford GT a few laps back. Like a fleet of Super Duties hell bent on hauling, the Ford GTs just kept on going while near everything else capable of staying within sight for a lap or so died, crashed, or literally burned. And Ford made it look easy- Watching the in car live race video Ford provided there was so little drama that it was hard to realize that the Ford GTs were besting over 200 MPH down the long Le Mans straightaway and then flying through the turns at well past one G velocities.

So Ford, you pleasantly surprised me and dominated the race, despite the FIA’s best Euro-centric efforts. PR mission accomplished, but let’s not give up now… Build this victory into a dynasty of Ford GT wins, just like in the ’60s! And while I don’t expect my application to buy a Ford GT to be successful (still trying to figure out how I’d pay for it), could I at least have a test drive? Pleeeeeeze?

Elon Musk has managed to build an electric car/battery/space? house of cards out of taxpayer subsidies and become a stock market darling. VW built the worlds largest car and truck maker the old fashioned way, and today proposed to transition themselves into a financial house of cards powered by dying electric cars to rival Musk’s Tesla. The sober Euro markets responded by shaving a couple percent of VWAG’s stock price.

If you’re waiting for an announcement of just how much VW is going to award us long (not) suffering diesel owners, that’s been put off for another week. And with VW promising to introduce 30 new battery powered “cars” by 2025 totaling a quarter of their production, future diesel development is clearly on the back burner if not in the dumpster. Ready for a new 40+ MPG TDI? Heck, we’ll be lucky if they give us an emissions fix so we can keep our old ones. My local VW dealer has a back lot full of twenty odd brand new TDIs that can’t be sold at least until the settlement is made official, and those may be the last affordable diesel cars allowed in America… Maybe I should pick the one I want and stand by it on the day the settlement is announced, checkbook in hand?

I’ve been faithful to VW all through this crisis, only to have them blindly surrender to the electric car fanatics with nary a struggle. For VWAG this is corporate suicide… The world’s biggest and most profitable car and truck maker can’t pay the bills competing with Tesla et al for the electric car’s less than one percent and falling share of the market. Neglect VWAG’s core market for mass produced affordable diesels and that 600,000 worker payroll will be tough to make. Pull some of the world’s best engineers off working on profitable Porsche, Audi, Lamborgini, MAN, and Scania and the world’s biggest and most profitable auto and truck maker becomes a house of financial cards that will come crashing down in a multinational bankruptcy.

VW, I’m not filing for divorce yet, but you’re sleeping in the driveway. And I got a date with this Ford guy at Le Mans this weekend, sounds like fun…

Turns out that my tale of woe with a late model BMW last weekend was not a solitary one. Posted over on the “Parallel Universe” subforum at in search of advice and found a fellow sufferer whose BMW’s stator has smoked in similar manner. Then over on the sidecar forum of advrider I heard mention of another smoked stator, for the third time, on the Hiawatha Rally’s GS ride. Then I check and find yet another stator smoked last weekend.

And just to prove that the F twins weren’t BMWs only lemon, another BMW rider headed to the same BMW rally I was headed for only made it as far as Omaha before his ’91 GSPD’s transmission failed… Yup, built in the era of the infamous “missing circlip” and fated for failure. And yet another dubious achievement in BMW’s long history of failed designs… The R100GS’s paralever U-joints, early K bike driveshafts, oilhead transmissions, F800S and ST rear axle bearings, and the flaming final drives of early 21st century oilheads and K bikes. Add it all up and over the last few decades BMW riders have had to shell out thousands to get their failed BMWs home and thousands more to fix chronic failures that BMW refuses to admit exist, never mind fix.

Now I have to admit some grudging admiration for the way the trial lawyers have managed to gin up VW’s cheating on one aspect of the emission regulations into a multi-billion dollar class action settlement that VW quickly surrendered to. Heck, my VW damn near earns me speeding tickets while getting 40 MPG, but for some strange reason I’m supposed to be all aggrieved while VW hands me a thousand dollars with rumors of another five thousand in “damages” yet to come. Damages, for what?

Takes a “hook” that’ll catch with the masses to make a legal haul like that, and the hook was pollution. In the case of BMW motorcycles, the lawyers and regulatory agencies don’t give a hoot that we’ve been laying out serious $$$ to drag them home and fix them… They figure we deserve that fiscal punishment for riding them “dangerous motorcycles”. But cannot a broken BMW transmission, driveshaft, or flaming final drive lock up the rear wheel and cause a crash? And is not the sudden loss of power from a failed charging system that BMW has not even provided with an “idiot light” to warn of it’s impending failure a safety hazard? Then there’s BMW’s penchant for “on the edge of instability” steering geometry that produced well documented tankslappers on the early airheads and oilheads, and may have contributed to the death of a veteran journalist testing the new wethead…

Sounds like enough damages to get the attention of more than a few trial lawyers… What are we BMW riders waiting for?

Left for the 400 mile ride down US-59 to the Kansas Rally yesterday morning on the 2007 F800S. About 200 miles into the ride the engine doesn’t seem to be idling down after 80 MPH passing, but when I stop for fuel it runs fine. Another 2 hours riding and it’s idling at 4000 RPM, but idle drops down but rough when I reboot the computer by shutting the bike off and restarting it. I’m 280 miles from home but 120 miles from the rally, if I was riding an airhead I would have kept going, heck woulda probably been able to fix it right there. Only 3 pm so I still had time to make it back home, so got onto parallel I-29 to slab it home being the bike doesn’t want to idle. Refueled in Sioux City and the bike runs fine @70-80 MPH, then about 25 miles later the guages go dead but the bike still runs. Not much of anywhere to stop so I keep going, almost made it through Sioux City when the bike completely died and I coasted off I-229 at the “stockyards exit”. Tipped the bike over getting it over a curb and out of the street. Battery completely dead and smells like electrons being liberated. Stripped off enough tupperware to access the battery and found nothing amiss, hooked up my lithium jumper battery and it starts but dies as soon as it’s disconnected. Nothing at this exit but trailer parks and gravel pits, so I put on my helmet, reconnect the jumper battery, start the bike, and it runs long enough to get me backtracked a couple miles to an exit with an Autozone, motels, fast food, etc.. Autozone folks are nice and left me use their voltmeter, voltage is down around 9 volts and won’t restart. Buy an amp and a half charger, the nice Autozone folks let me plug it in there. After two hours charging it starts and I backtrack to get my Dareen jacket, tank bag, and tent that I left at the exit where it first died, but after a mile the lights are dying already and I head back to the motel room I’d gotten and plug in the charger again.

This morning after charging the battery for 10 hours it starts. I fuel the bike and double back to the exit where I’d left my stuff, and all that remains is the tupperware. Bike is now refusing to idle again so I head back to motel for more coffee and call a tow truck. They gouged me nearly $500 for an 80 mile haul, add up the damages and I’m out around $2000 and I haven’t even started to fix the lemon BMW again. This is the second time the F800S has died on the road, a worse record than even my Buell.

That $2000 would have been better spent on a used Airhead!


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