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  1. #181
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    2016 ATS-V Sedan, 2016 ATS-V Coupe

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    Confessions of an Automotive Nationalist

    Still waitin' for that replacement prop shaft for my droning Coupe. Hopefully, later this week, my pals at Bunnin Cadillac will have an update on the new shaft's whereabouts.

    My "honey-dos" for the weekend were the high-ladder work and electrical for our annual Christmas outdoor decoration. As my Wife explained how she wanted the decoration to look this year, I was reminded of the adage: "Happy wife. Happy life". At the end of the day, my back was sore but she was happy that the front of our home looked, "super Christmasy". I was happy, too.

    One situation which damps the Fairest Sandra the Red's "Christmas mood" is her ATS-V Sedan. The exhaust blowing oil smoke on most cold starts and GM's dragging its feet on warranty repair of the problem has been a frustration. She says the smoke is embarrassing. No surprise there. At work, she parks her car just up the street from a import dealer which sells Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. She says its customers drive by at the end of the day when she's starting the car and there's a cloud of oil smoke around the back. The Benz and bimmer drivers give her smug looks.

    My best friend owns an Audi S4 and we banter about S4 vs ATS-V. I remind him that the ATS-V has a 135-hp advantage and an eLSD. He tells me, "Yeah, but my Audi doesn't blow oil smoke or make a droning noise on the freeway" (ouch!). Other of my friends have asked why I haven't sold both the Caddys considering the trouble we've had to date with customer satisfaction disasters. My dealer even asked if I wanted GM to buy back the Coupe.
    Yet...I remain an ATS-V enthusiast.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-48-jpg

    I'm an "automotive nationalist". I still believe in the domestic car business. Yeah, today's market is global and, yeah, American cars have parts in them from all over the world and, yeah, some aren't even assembled here; but the fact remains: the ATS-V was designed and developed in the U.S. and is manufactured in Michigan.

    General Motors has proven they can make products with benchmark quality. Unfortunately, while they can do that, they don't always achieve it and therein lies problem with the Cadillac ATS-V. GM has taken it's eye off the "quality ball". Adding to the problem is General Motors' byzantine warranty administration system which, once the dealer gets to where its hands are tied by GM policy, it becomes user-unfriendly and moves with sloth-like speed. It's a system that has cost reduction as a noticeably higher priority than customer satisfaction, a situation which has potential Cadillac customers running to competitor's showrooms. Cadillac needs to fix that or all the Project Pinnacles, hipster clothing lines, Cadillac Houses or "Dare Greatly" marketing campaigns in the world won't sell cars. Cadillac, once the "Standard of the World" with all the market-share marbles, will continue to suck hind tit while Mercedes, BMW and Lexus move metal off sales floors.

    Nevertheless, I'm sticking with my ATS-Vs. It's the only rear-drive compact car with acceleration, handing, braking and ride which equals or betters what you get with an a BMW M3 or a Mercedes AMG C63 and that is made right here in the U.S. of A.

    I'm so freakin' into the car's 464-horse 3.6Ltt V6. It's the most "lag-less" turbocharged engine I've ever driven. For pure straight line fun, the LF4/8L90 combination we have in our Sedan is bad-assed. My favorite thing to do is cruise along at 30 or so then floor it. The feel of the transmission's almost instantaneously shifting down a bunch of gears then the car taking off like a jet in full afterburner is better than any amusement park thrill ride. Our manual coupe accelerates hard but to really get the true feeling, you have to have the PTM in track mode and use launch control along with no-lift shifts.

    The ATS-V's handing and braking are superb. The car is predictable and turn in is like right now. The steering is proof there is hope for electric power steering–car companies are getting the hang of designing in some road feel. As for brakes: the pedal is hard as a rock and I've yet to get them to fade. The car is well balanced and it's electronic limited slip differential (eLSD) extends its limits noticeably beyond what the same car could do with a mechanical limited slip.

    I've gushed regularly about the ATS-V's great looks, especially the Coupe. Often I am approaching the car in a parking lot from three-quarters-rear. That's one of my favorite angles. I find the view dramatic. We ordered our Coupe in Vector Blue Metallic. That paint with the car's lines make an ATS-V just some awesome eye candy.

    But say I was not a completely-narrow-minded, America-right-or-wrong automotive nationalist. Would I be open to say–an Audi S4? Not even for two reasons: 1) it's weak-suck power rating, 329-hp, and 2) S4s are all-wheel drive. With only 329 horses, the only people who really need AWD S4s are those who drive on gravel roads a lot or in snow and ice. Otherwise, AWD is just a waste of money you pay for extra weight.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-49-jpg

    BMW M3? With 425-hp (440 with the special "Competition package) available and weighing less, the M3 is no slouch in a straight line and it's handling is almost as good, but it has a confusing array of stuff to adjust to get the handing just right. The ATS-V has chassis tuning adjustments, too, but they're not as complex. Basically, you just pick how you want MagnaRide to work. My biggest problem with bimmers is that, while they're supposed to be the "Ultimate Driving Machine", they're really not. BMWs sold in North America have 155-mph speed limiters and, for that reason, they are just "driving machines". They're not "ultimate" unless top speed is either drag-limited or rev-limited. With my ATS-V, I could go find some long straight road and hold my boot on the floor and end-up around 180-mph. Can't do that with the bimmer.

    Then there's the Mercedes C 63 AMG. It's has 469-hp, handles quite well, weighs about a hundred pounds more but, it, too, has the freakin' limiter at 155-mph and it doesn't have an eLSD–pretty depressing considering the car's price. Ok. There is an -S model with 503-hp, an eLSD and a 180-mph limiter but you pay a mighty surcharge to get that stuff. In fact, a full-tilt-boogie C63 AMG can go for a bit over 91-large, way more than the ATS-V. For all that money you get a car which doesn't look as cool, weighs more and is not as easy to drive at the limit.

    The true believers at GM–the team who developed the ATS-V–were visionaries who did a hell of a job. Where did GM fall flat? It's let suppliers get sloppy with component quality and its Lansing Assembly Plant has let cars out the door with problems.

    I can even accept an ATS-V with just a few QC issues, as long as they get fixed. What has to change is the unpleasant, time-consuming ordeal through which an owner must go to get the quality problems repaired under warranty

    I'm hopeful that our cars will eventually get fixed and I'll, once again, be a blissfully happy ATS-V fanboy. I'll even learn to love CUE.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 01-02-2017 at 06:56 PM.

  2. #182
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    2016 ATS-V Sedan, 2016 ATS-V Coupe

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    Manual Musings

    I own five GM vehicles with five- or six-speed manual transmissions and all of them have cruise control. With four of them (’99 Blazer, ’01 Camaro, ’04 Corvette and ’12 Corvette), if the cruise control is enabled, you can disable it instantly by either: tapping the brake, tapping the clutch or turning the system off.

    My ’16 ATS-V six-speed is different in that, if you push the clutch in, there is a long delay before the cruise control is disabled. This is not a problem unique to my car, either. There are eight other ’16 ATS-V manual owners with whom I have communicated who have noted the same annoying characteristic, which according to the '16 ATS-V Owner's Manual, is the way cruse control is supposed to work on 2016 models.

    So why is this a problem?

    If you’re not used to this characteristic, it can be scary if you use cruise control at highway speeds but, when you get to an exit ramp; you downshift rather than immediately using the brakes. Do that with a 2016 ATS-V manual, cruise control remains enabled and the car, even if in a lower gear, will attempt to accelerate back to the speed previously set.

    I drive like that a lot. I roll along at highway speed with the cruise control on and, when I get to my exit, I downshift from sixth to fifth or fourth, coast for several hundred yards then downshift more and brake. First time I did that in the Blue BMW Buster, boy, did I get a surprise! I shifted from sixth to fourth and the car accelerated when I thought it was going to slow down. A quick stab of the brakes disabled cruise.

    Why GM chose to have the ‘16 ATS-V cruise control work that way is unknown, but maybe, the General has had second thoughts.

    A couple of months ago, I road tested a 2017 ATS-V manual and its cruise control behaves like other GM vehicles with manuals which I’ve driven, i.e.: when you step on the clutch, the cruise control instantly goes off-line.

    I think that's a much safer way to have the cruse control function in a manual trans application.

    Let me know what you think, and...Merry Christmas
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 01-04-2017 at 06:29 PM.

  3. #183
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    Same S**t. Different Year

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-51-jpg

    Welcome to 2017, everybody!

    Being that a new year is upon us, you'd think I'd have some good news about the long-standing problems we have with our two ATS-Vs. Well...I don't.

    "Pearl", our 2016 ATS-V four-door–now more than a year old with 22,000 miles on the clock–still blows oil smoke on cold starts as if it had 220,000 hard miles on it. The engine has been doing that since last Spring. The most recent attempt–there have been three others so far–at diagnosing the problem has been to run a second oil consumption test.

    Typically, GM oil consumption tests run about 2000-miles with a dealer, in our case Bunnin Cadillac of Santa Barbara, California, checking the oil each week. The first one of these tests, run during the last couple of months of 2016, showed Pearl's engine consumed 340-milliliters (0.36-qt) of oil in 2206-miles. That works out to about 6125-miles per quart of the Joe Gibbs Driven LS30 engine oil we have been using in our 464-hp, twin-turbo LF4s. Driven LS30 is a mPAO based, full-synthetic 5W30 oil which is a step up in performance and protection from the "Dexos-approved", semi-synthetic oil with which GM factory-fills LF4 engines.
    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-11-jpg
    Dexos (left) and LS30 (right). Image: Author.

    Apparently, GM doesn't care much for our Gibbs Driven LS30. Could it be because Joe Gibbs Racing, after 16 years of running GM cars in NASCAR, switched to Toyota back in '08, then beat Chevrolet for the Sprint Cup in 2015? Ok. Just kidding. I don't think the "General" would stoop that low.

    Wanting to rule out a premium, full-synthetic oil as the cause of the oil-smoke-after-cold-starts problem and, perhaps, concerned that LS30 is not a Dexos-certified product, the GM engineer communicating with Bunnin Cadillac required it to drain the LS30, change the filter and fill the crankcase with Dexos semi-synthetic oil, then have Bunnin run a second oil consumption test on the engine in Pearl.

    As of today, we are 1050 miles into the second test. The smoke on cold starts actually seems worse than before. I drove the car over to Henderson, Nevada to spend Christmas with relatives. Three of the five cold starts on that trip resulted in a cloud of stinking oil smoke. Yesterday–New Year's Day–my Wife fired up Pearl to go to the grocery store and the blue haze from the car's exhaust floated across our front yard. Hopefully, the second oil consumption test will be done by the end of January, because it is a ridiculous waste of time with which GM is trying my patience.

    The engine in our ATS-V four-door clearly has a problem–one which should have been repaired months ago. I have requested repeatedly that either cylinder heads or the engine be replaced. My hope is that once the second oil use test is done, General Motors is going to stop giving me the run-around and fix that car.

    As for "The Blue BMW Buster", our 2016 ATS-V Coupe, and the annoying vibration at highway speeds it's had since it was delivered last July–I said in post #180 about a month ago...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hib Halverson View Post
    OMG! There's light at the end of the tunnel and...it may not be an oncoming train!

    This morning,GM's Customer Engagement Center called to say that a new propeller shaft for my droning ATS-V Coupe is on the way to my dealer, Bunnin Cadillac. This was a stunning reversal by GM considering that, just two weeks ago, the Engagement Center reminded me that the car's level of noise and vibration was "normal."

    The Customer Advisor who called said that "engineering" had ordered the new shaft specifically for our car and it was shipping to Bunnin Cadillac directly from the supplier.
    That light at the end of that tunnel has dimmed, either because the tunnel is getting longer or I'm moving backwards. My Customer Advisor at the Engagement Center called on Friday 29 December to say that her department is still working on making a new propeller shaft available to my dealer, Bunnin Cadillac of Santa Barbara, California. She was unable to say when the part would arrive here in California. On 3 January 2017, the Engagement Center Advisor called again to say that the propshaft supplier may have parts available on 15 January, however, she was unable to say if that date was when the parts would be shipped or when the parts will arrive at my dealer in California. At this point, no one knows when the vibrating Coupe will be repaired.

    In the meantime, since, back in August of 2016, GM denied warranty coverage of further diagnosis of this vibration problem and, at this point, seems unable to supply repair parts; during this first week of 2017, I'm going to make my second attempt to rebalance the Blue BMW Buster's prop shaft myself using the "Propshaft Balancing" feature of the Pico Technology NVH Kit's amazing "PicoDiagnostics" software. To do this requires Pico's "Optical Balancing Kit" which is the hardware necessary to use the Propshaft Balancing software. We acquired an Optical Balancing Kit when we bought all the PicoScope stuff a couple of months ago.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-50-jpg
    The Pico Technology Optical Balancing Kit. Image: Author.

    There are two ways to balance a prop shaft with the Pico equipment: 1) the flange bolt method and 2) the hose clamp method. Initially, I thought hose clamps would be easiest, but they were not and my first attempt at balancing was a failure. My second try will use the flange bolt method. The only tools I lack are the unique, 1.5-gram temporary weights that the GM version of the Balancing Kit includes.

    Those weights are a GM exclusive, but I believe some 1.5-g. arbor shims installed beneath the rear drive unit flange nuts might be a good substitute for the GM weights which attach to the flange bolt heads. First thing Tuesday morning, I'm headed for a couple of industrial hardware stores in the area to see if they have some 1/2-in. arbor shims of the correct weight. I'll let you all know what happens.

    I'm well aware that the ATS-V powertrain is all new for 2016. That awareness has me willing to accept a few "teething" problems with engine manufacturing and supplier quality. I can understand, say...a cylinder head assembly robot at the engine plant in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico which screws up an exhaust valve stem seal one time due to a slight maladjustment. I can understand, say...a propeller shaft supplier which, inadvertantly, lets a an out-of-balance shaft get into the driveline parts stream going to the ATS assembly plant at Lansing, Michigan.

    Cadillac Customer Care, the GM Customer Engagement Center and the GM Executive Department have all been communicative in re: to my two problem child ATS-Vs. I've heard from the Customer Engagement Center numerous times concerning our Coupe's vibration problem. I've heard from the Executive Department twice concerning our Sedan which blows clouds of oil smoke after cold starts but, as yet, nothing has been repaired. The Coupe still buzzes and drones, which it has been doing since it was delivered in July of 2016, and the Sedan still smokes, which it has done since the Spring of 2016.

    I am grateful that these various GM entities are so communicative, but I'd much prefer them to take action and get my cars fixed rather than giving me reasons as to why GM cannot repair my cars just yet.
    What I neither understand nor accept is General Motors system of solving field service problems with vehicles under warranty and how GM "ties the hands" of its dealers which could be its first line of defense for a warranty-related customer satisfaction problems. When a Cadillac customer needs a warranty repair, this system can result in an unpleasant process which moves at a sloth-like pace. Trust me–I know.

    I don't think Cadillac can justify the owner of a $64,000 car having to live for seven months with clouds of oil smoke after cold starts. Also, in my opinion, Cadillac can't justify the owner of a $62,000 car, which has droned and vibrated since new, being told, first, that such noise and vibration is normal, but later, once the owner diagnosed the vibration and published the results, being told that the car's prop shaft is faulty and may eventually be replaced. This type of warranty support might be one reason why Cadillac's market share is so much less than other luxury car makers.

    The Cadillac ATS-V is an awesome high-performance car. I enjoy driving them. I love looking at them. I'm comfortable in an interior that the rest of the automotive press apparently dislikes. Heck, I'm even learning to live with CUE. When our two ATS-Vs get out of warranty repair hell and are operating properly, I'll be happy to go back to being a shameless ATS-V fanboy .

    Heck, maybe I'll throw a party...

    ...then send the bill to Cadillac.

    On second thought
    maybe I ought to think twice the next time I consider buying an all new model.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 02-06-2017 at 01:31 PM.

  4. #184
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    2016 Cadillac ATS-V

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    Sorry to hear of your problems, Hib. I couldn't agree more- teething problems are something we (should) accept the possibility of when getting into a first year model, and aren't always the best way to judge the experience. Much more emphasis is put on how we are treated as customers when these problems arise. GM is really missing the mark in this respect. It appears that their first instinct is to deny, deflect, and stall. It also appears that internal communication is poor; I was quite vocal about my rattling wastegates and was floored to hear they had been addressed via TSB several months before I purchased my car, yet the service department at my local dealer either wasn't aware or didn't connect the dots.

    I do understand the need to protect revenues and avoid unnecessary expenditures on the part of Cadillac, but the lengths people like yourself are going to are tough to excuse. Too many owners are having to diagnose issues when their service departments won't. And as you allude to in your post above, it seems like the lions share of issues are due to quality inconsistencies in the build process. It's unfortunate to see and live through these experiences in light of the fact that we bailed out GM with our tax dollars and further support them by purchasing their products.

    That being said, my sentiments on the ATS-V echo yours almost to the letter. Luckily, these cars are magical from the driver's seat. Hopefully Cadillac will put a little more $$$ into QC as time progresses, as it appears there are lessons to be learned from the initial rollout of the ATS-V.

    Here's to you getting speedy resolution to your issues

  5. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEATS-V View Post
    (snip
    That being said, my sentiments on the ATS-V echo yours almost to the letter. Luckily, these cars are magical from the driver's seat. Hopefully Cadillac will put a little more $$$ into QC as time progresses, as it appears there are lessons to be learned from the initial rollout of the ATS-V.
    We totally agree.

    Here's to you getting speedy resolution to your issues
    X'ing my fingers.
    Hib Halverson
    I'net Tech Writer
    2Vs+3Zs

  6. #186
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    2016 ATS-V Sedan, 2016 ATS-V Coupe

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    Sometimes, you Just Gotta Say…

    There's a classic line from "Risky Business", the film which made Tom Cruise a breakout star. Cruise's character, Joel Goodson, is getting some "worldly counseling" from his bestie, Miles, who states, "Sometimes you just gotta say, 'What the f**k.'"

    WTF is what I was thinking as I listened to a voice-mail my Advisor at GM's Customer Engagement Center left me on Friday afternoon, 6 January. She said that "Engineering" had changed its mind and would not ship my dealer, Bunnin Cadillac of Santa Barbara, California, a new driveshaft (sometimes called a “propeller shaft” or just a “propshaft”) for our vibrating ATS-V Coupe. That voice-mail came after the same Advisor called three days earlier to confirm that a new shaft would ship from the supplier on the 15th.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-52-jpg
    The problem is that 316-mg spike at 49-Hz. At 85-mph, the speed at which this data was taken, the noise from the vibration is quite noticeable.

    So, later that Friday, I call my Advisor and voice-mail her back asking for details. She voice-mails me on Monday the 9th saying that GM Engineering no longer believes the problem with my car is caused by the propshaft. Further, she said that Engineering, “…does not know what is making the vibration from the rear of your car." Finally, she added that GM is working on the problem but has no time frame for a solution.

    Sometimes you just gotta say...

    In GM's defense, I, too, am thinking the noise-and-vibes problem with the “Blue BMW Buster” may not be caused by propshaft imbalance. A couple of days ago, using our Pico Technologies Propshaft Balance software and our PicoScope Optical Sensor kit we were able to improve the propshaft balance but doing so had no effect on the particular noise and vibration anyone driving the car at highway speeds can sense.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-53-jpg
    Using Pico's Propshaft balancing software we reduced the shaft's level of imbalance but did not affect the noise.

    As for GM having no solution for this problem...wow! Talk about a "WTF moment"! This can’t be rocket science, people! The V-Net road tested a '17 ATS-V manual several months ago and it did not have the same vibration problem. Something in the driveline of our '16 is out of balance. Might be the rear drive unit, the propshaft or something in the trans, but I just don't get why solving this problem is such a mystery. Maybe, if someone in "Engineering" would contact me with some details, rather than the dutiful Engagement Center Advisors who are all great at staying in touch, but are short on details or solutions, I wouldn't be so angry right now with how GM administrates warranties once dealers have done all they can.

    While I am surprised that General Motors doesn't know how to fix my car, I’m, also, frustrated that a repair for this problem has been pending since mid-July 2016 when it was delivered. I'm saddened that GM's warranty administration above the dealer level cannot provide an appropriate level of customer satisfaction.

    We've spent about 130,000 bucks on two '16 ATS-Vs. One them, our manual Coupe (the Blue BMW Buster), has that vibration problem which is so bad that, at highway speeds, you can hear it with the windows down and the radio on. The other car, our automatic sedan ("Pearl"), has been belching oil smoke after cold starts since last July. At this writing, there's no repair in sight for either car.

    Another issue which, as a long-time "GM guy", makes me want to cry is the fair-at-best quality in ATS-Vs and the unsatisfactory level of support renders to fix those QC problems. Those two situations taken together is one reason why Cadillac is struggling a bit to gain traction in the luxury passenger car segments.

    Someday, I hope that will change. Until then, all I can say is, "What the f**k!?
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 03-08-2017 at 06:44 PM.

  7. #187
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    Smoke Begins to Clear

    “Pearl” my Wife’s Crystal White, ATS-V four-door which has been belching oil smoke after cold starts for the last seven months has new cylinder heads in its future.

    I learned about a week ago that GM has released a revised cylinder head for the LF4. The revision(s) are said to have been to the valve guides and the valve stem seals. Right now, I don’t have details on the changes but I’ve been in contact with Tom Read, the Communications Manager for GM Global Propulsion Systems asking for more detailed information about this “second design” head. Read responded this morning that he was checking with Engineering and will have answers in the next few days.

    A report we received yesterday said that our dealer, Bunnin Cadillac of Santa Barbara CA already has a set of these cylinder heads but is, currently, waiting for head gaskets and additional parts. Hopefully, the necessary extra parts will reach Bunnin soon and their technicians can begin work on the cylinder head installation.

    When I heard back on 18 January that a new head was coming, I started to wonder: new head designs just don’t appear magically. It takes months to design the part, test prototypes, put the head through validation then release it into the GM Parts system. Rather than waste all the diagnostic time/effort on our car–engine oil dye test, borescoping the engine, an oil consumption test followed by an oil change and a second oil consumption test, why didn’t GM just tell us that a new head was in development which would “fix” the cold-start-oil-smoke problem and that, as soon as the part was released we’d get a set. That would have avoided a lot of frustration at both the customer level (i.e.: me) and at Bunnin Cadillac. I’d have been content to wait patiently had I known a new head was coming which would stop the clouds of oil smoke overtime my Wife or I would cold-start the car.

    In any event, I can hardly wait to do some cold-start testing with the new heads on the engine.

    I have had some PM and email questions from readers asking why GM has not commented on any of the posts to this Blog concerning the long-staring problems with our two cars.

    It’s not because GM is unaware of the coverage nor is it because I have not offered Cadillac Communications an opportunity to comment. Last fall, we contacted, Steve Martin, who was the Communications contact for the ATS-V, CTS-V and Cadillac Racing, but he never replied to any of our requests for comment. Martin has since left the Cadillac Communications staff. We have contacted Dave Caldwell, Cadillac Product Communications Manager, twice in the last ten days asking him to comment. He, also, has not replied to our emails.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 01-26-2017 at 06:45 PM.

  8. #188
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    My coupe was built on January 2, 2017. Wonder if it has the new design heads.
    Last edited by LAROKE; 01-27-2017 at 10:20 AM. Reason: Spelin' It's always spelin'

  9. #189
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    Head Headlines
    Details of the LF4's new head.

    As for the question above, I’d say, “No.” for a couple of reasons. First, the key date in this instance is not when the car was built in Lansing, but when the engine was assembled in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. I suspect the engine build date is sometime in December. Based on my understanding of the new head situation and some unofficial information I have, I don’t think the new head was in the parts pipeline at that time, but that’s me guessing, not the official word from GM.

    According to Tom Read, the Communications Manager at GM Global Propulsion Systems, the only change to the LF4 cylinder head are valve guides made of a different material. This different material is, according to read, the same stuff used to make the guides use in the "second generation" high-feature V6 which, in the case of Cadillac, are 3.6L LGX the 3.0L twin-turbo LGW.

    I’ve looked at a set of bare, early-production, “second design” heads and the physical appearance of the valve guides seems to be the same.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-54-jpg
    Only the guides are different.
    Image: Author

    A couple of weeks ago, my dealer received two bare heads but received no ancillary parts for them. It was another week before the rest the pieces arrived. After that, my dealer was reluctant to send all the pieces over to the cylinder head service in my town for assembly. I can understand their reluctance, considering the complexity of the LF3/LF4 head and that neither it nor the machine shop had done a set of HFV6 heads before. In the meantime, several days ago, the GM engineer who has been working with my dealer emailed to say that two complete head assemblies were being shipped direct from the engine assembly plant in Ramos Arizpe.

    Those will be the heads which will go on the engine in “Pearl,” my Wife’s Crystal White Tincoat four-door, the car which has had the long-standing problem with oil smoke out the exhaust for a short period after cold starts. I’ll add that, currently, this GM Engineer must remains unnamed but whomever he is, he’s the first person at GM, above the dealer level, who’s work on the cases of my two problem ATS-Vs has met the definition of “customer satisfaction” in that, once he was “on the case”, events have moved far quicker towards a solution than they had been moving prior to his involvement.

    Though it appears, after a very long wait, a fix is imminent for “Pearl”; because the clouds of oil smoke are so annoyingly obvious, I have continued to study the characteristics of the problem. In the last six weeks or so, I have had two occasions to make road trips in Pearl from our home in Goleta, California to visit relatives in Henderson, Nevada. The driveway where we park in Henderson is longer than most and has both level and inclined sections, whereas the driveway where I live is only inclined. Plus, the inclined sections of the Henderson driveway are steeper than my driveway.

    I noted that, when parked on the steep part of the Henderson driveway in either direction, after a cold start where was little or no smoke, but if I parked the car on the level part of the Henderson driveway, which I did on two occasions, the most recent of which was yesterday, there was a lot of smoke. Additionally, my Wife, the Fairest Sandra the Red, tells me that, where she parks at work is on level ground and, when she leaves work in the evening, after cold starts, there is more oil smoke–sometimes a lot more–than there is when the car is parked on our inclined driveway at home.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-55-jpg
    Oil drainbacks in the LF3/LF4 cylinder head
    Image: Author.

    That the oil smoke after cold starts is less when the car is on an incline than when it’s on level ground goes right back to what I’ve believed since this problem began and that is: the problem with this car is oil leaking down valve guide(s)–which likely have faulty seals–right after shut down and before the oil level in the heads drains to below tops of the guides. That leakage ends up on the back of the valves until it is consumed within a few seconds after the next restart. If the car is on an incline, since the oil drainback passages are at the front and rear of the HFV6 head; oil drains back more quickly and guides–perhaps including the ones that leak–at the uphill (“already dry”) end of the head may not leak–that is: once the oil level in the heads drains to below where oil can enter the valve guides, they can’t leak. That point is reached sooner with the engine on an incline–so the engine smokes less or not at all–than it is reached with the car on a level surface–so the engine smokes a lot.

    Hopefully, this problem will be solved, once and for all, in the next few weeks, when two new, factory-assembled heads are put on Pearl’s engine, and then…I’ll do my “happy dance.”

    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 05-17-2017 at 01:03 PM.

  10. #190
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    Many thanx for your continuing detailed analysis. I'm following along with great interest.

  11. #191
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    Tire Talk

    For '16 and '17, OE on ATS-V is the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. The sizes are 255/35ZR18 in the front and 275/35 ZR18 at the rear. Interestingly, Cadillac chose the non-run-flat version of the Pilot Super Sport for the ATS-V, most likely to take some harshness out of the car's ride.

    GM's first application of the Pilot Super Sport was the 2014 "C7" Corvette Stingray and was released in a "ZP" or run-flat version for that car in late 2013. It is used on all C7s except Z06es and Grand Sports ordered with Z07 both of which get the Pilot Sport Cup 2. The "PSS" has been Michelin's mainstay ultra-performance radial tire until just recently. It is gradually being replaced by the Pilot Sport 4. The PS4 is not yet available in ATS-V sizes but may be offered in them, eventually.

    The ATS-V's PSSes are categorized as a "Summer" tire. The choice of the Pilot Super Sport is one reason the ATS-V has such outstanding good weather dry handling, good warm/cool weather wet handing as well as being a great tire for occasional track use, given proper tire pressures and suspension alignment. Brian Remsberg, Director of Consumer Public Relations for Michelin North America told us in an interview, "Summer tires are primarily for high-performance cars, such as the ATS-V. They provide outstanding dry and good wet performance levels in a temperate environment. Summer tires are not designed for winter use where temperatures are colder and approach freezing on a regular basis. In those conditions, their performance will be less than optimal. Additionally, summer tires may not have as long a tread life as would a tire designed for a standard passenger car, SUV or light truck."

    After hearing that, we asked Remsberg what Michelin tire would be good on an ATS-V for "light winter" driving and longer tread-life. He suggested the new "Pilot Sport All-Season 3+". "All Season tires," Brian said, "are the most popular tire on the road. They are engineered to handle 'everyday' driving conditions. An all-season tread provides balanced dry and wet performance level in both temperate and cool weather, as well as acceptable snow traction in regions with light winter weather. All-Season tires are a practical solution designed for year-round use and, typically, have a longer tread life."

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-56-jpg
    Waving at you is our pal "Bibendum", the silent but always smiling, white-suited, Michelin Man

    In researching Michelin technical data, we learned that the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ benefits from Michelin’s successes in endurance road racing and the company's technological innovations in four areas. First is Michelin’s "Helio+" tread compound combined with biting edges in the tread grooves that grab loose snow to enhance acceleration and braking in light winter conditions. Another is the use of silica in the tread compound, a feature developed for endurance road racing rain tires. Silica along with variable thickness sipes and large circumferential grooves result in good wet grip and resistance to hydroplaning in deep water. A third is "Variable Contact Patch 3.0". Originally developed for endurance racing, it distributes cornering forces and tread temperatures more evenly through the patch of tire tread which contacts the road. Those three are combined with an asymmetric tread pattern inspired by the Pilot Super Sport, to maximize dry grip, wet grip and make tread wear more even.

    At the other end of the tire spectrum are "Winter Tires". Also called "snow tires", they are intended for use in the most severe winter conditions. "They are specifically designed to provide optimal traction on ice, snow, and slush as well as on wet and dry road surfaces in severe cold weather conditions," Brian Remsberg continued. "'Severe cold weather conditions' are defined as when ambient temperatures are consistently below freezing and/or there is substantial winter precipitation. Winter tires are not intended for year-round use. All winter tires display the 'Mountain Snow Flake' symbol on the sidewalls indicating suitability for severe winter use. Our Winter tire line with ATS-V sizes is the 'Pilot Alpin PA4'".

    Of the two ATS-Vs we use to write this Blog, "Pearl", our Crystal White Tincoat four-door, gets used a lot more in cool, wet weather than "The Blue BMW Buster", our Vector Blue two-door. Plus, Pearl is more of a daily driver than "3B". With the four-door, we decided to trade a little of the ATS-V's dry traction for better wet weather performance and more tread-life. This worked out well because, in 25,000 miles, we burned though the tread on Pearl's rear Pilot Super Sports. This was not self-inflicted with burn-outs, either. An unfortunate quality issue with our ATS-V four-door was that it came out of Lansing assembly with faulty rear suspension alignment. We noticed tire noise at about the 14,000 mile mark because the tread blocks were "feathering" due to the rear toe adjustment being incorrect. That, also, caused accelerated tread wear which we did not discover until about the 18,000 mile mark. At that point, we had the rear alignment reset to the proper specs. The rate of wear of the remaining tread decreased, but the damage was done. By 26,000-mi, the "wear bars" on the rear tires were showing, whereas the fronts still had plenty of tread.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-811-57-jpg
    Michelin's Pilot Sport All-Season 3+

    Willing to compromise a little at-limit handing for better tread life, since our dealer, Bunnin Cadillac of Santa Barbara, is also a Michelin Tire dealer, we ordered a set of Michelin PS AS3+s for Pearl. We are going to have them installed sometime next week. We'll report back to the "Little-V Blog" periodically on how they work out on an ATS-V which needs a little better tire performance in cold/wet weather and an increase in tread-life over the PSSes.





    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 03-01-2017 at 04:03 PM.

  12. #192
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    Footware for V Drivers.

    For the last couple of weeks, I've been testing a pair of driving shoes sold by Katech, Inc. the famed engine building operation in Michigan. Now, these are not the SFI approved shoes you need for sanctioned road racing. They are what's known in the driving shoe business as an "HPDE shoe". Less formal motorsports participants, such as those who enter their Vs in high-performance driver education (HPDE) events or open track day sessions often choose these less expensive, non SFI-approved, all-leather HPDE shoes.

    A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience-828-01-jpg

    My pal, Jason Harding, Katech's Director of Aftermarket operations send me a pair of these "Track Attack HPDE Shoes" to try and, so far, so good! I love these shoes.

    They may look sort of like running or cross-training shoes but HPDE are designed for specifically for high-performance driving. Good driving shoes are an important driver's tool. They have special features which enable drivers to exercise a higher level of authority over the pedals. Typically, they have a special sole design which enhances grip or traction on the pedals. They also often have a specific heel design to enable easier heel-and-toe downshifting. Good driving shoes should, also, be lightweight and made of leather. The Katech Track Attack shoes have all those features.

    When I finish my evaluation, I'll post a full-length product evaluation article in the reviews section of the V-Net.



  13. #193
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    Default Enjoy your posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hib Halverson View Post
    Does anyone really need two ATS-Vs?

    Attachment 709

    Not really.

    So why did I buy a second one? Well, first, in spite of a few quality problems we've had with my Wife's early-2016 ATS-V Sedan, I just really like the car's exterior design, its interior, its performance and its handing.

    Because I just turned 65 and I've been daily-driving my modified V6 Camaro for 15 years along with my soon (I hope) becoming a cancer survivor, I decided to make a for-the-most-part, frivolous purchase of a late-2016, ATS-V Coupe.


    Just moved to Atascadero from Walnut down in Southern Calif about 4 mos ago. Was a member of Corvettes Ltd and had 64 and 69 vettes in the mid 90s. I still have the red 64 convertible. Interesting read on your two cadillacs. Like you, I am that age (64) where you might as well spend it - you can't take it with you. Considering joining SLO Vettes. Rob Price is my name.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hib Halverson View Post
    Confessions of an Automotive Nationalist

    Still waitin' for that replacement prop shaft for my droning Coupe. Hopefully, later this week, my pals at Bunnin Cadillac will have an update on the new shaft's whereabouts.

    My "honey-dos" for the weekend were the high-ladder work and electrical for our annual Christmas outdoor decoration. As my Wife explained how she wanted the decoration to look this year, I was reminded of the adage: "Happy wife. Happy life". At the end of the day, my back was sore but she was happy that the front of our home looked, "super Christmasy". I was happy, too.


    Hib: Glad you enjoy your cars so much. Nice to find something you enjoy and exploit it to the max. I am kind of amazed that you bought another ATS-V when you had trouble with the first one and that vibration at 80. I guess that would not have precluded you from buying the blue one since you could have tested it out before purchase.

    Buying any car new is just a path to the poor house. Depreciation is a bitch and with a total of $140k of Cadilliacs with mediocre, at best, resale value, you are spending a lot for your fun.

    I gave up my desire for street racing back when I was 35. Big deal if you humble an M3 driver. There will always be someone faster than you but hopefully with better judgement.

    Robert Price / Vito

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unclevito View Post
    Just moved to Atascadero from Walnut down in Southern Calif about 4 mos ago. Was a member of Corvettes Ltd and had 64 and 69 vettes in the mid 90s. I still have the red 64 convertible. Interesting read on your two cadillacs. Like you, I am that age (64) where you might as well spend it - you can't take it with you. Considering joining SLO Vettes. Rob Price is my name.

    Welcome to the V-Net, Rob. I'm a former member (1971-1990) of Corvette Limited of Los Angeles. In fact, I belonged to Limited when you joined CL.

    I love the ATS-Vs but hate the way GM does warranty administration and how it ties the hands of dealers who are busting ass to please Cadillac customers.

    SLO Vettes is a great club. I'm in Corvette Club Santa Barbara and we've done some events with those guys.
    Hib Halverson
    I'net Tech Writer
    2Vs+3Zs

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