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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:48 am 

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The title says it all. After a foreign affair that lasted 18 years, I'm ready to bleed Ford blue. We'd owned a number of Hondas in those years (in immediate and extended family), mostly because in the class of vehicles we were looking at, we felt Honda had a better vehicle.

I was fooling myself on many counts. First on resale- unless you are going to trade every 2-3 years, I don't think this so called resale means anything. Second, on quality-my Hondas have had better body integrity than my last Ford(an 87 Mustang that had rust holes all over after 4 years), but I think we have at least a level field now; in fact, I think a lot of Fords (and other domestics) surpass Hondas.

The last selling point for me-reliability- is not Honda's trump card. I know no car is perfect, but the electrical problems(failed ignition modules, antenna motors, window lifts, alternators) lousy A/C(all but two of the 10 Hondas in our families have needed EXPENSIVE A/C work) and the final straw- a failed transmission just out of warranty(a well known issue on the Odyssey, at least as bad as Chrysler).

Long story short- we drove a Flex and loved it. I like a minivan, but the comfort and ride quality and solid feel of the Flex beat the hell out of the Odyssey. Now it's a matter of which Flex- blue or black(I'd love a dark Highland green), and Ecoboost or not. Finances this fall(along with deals) will determine the winner. I was hoping for a tan leather interior( I am ready for a change from black or grey) but I suppose one can't have everything.

I know it pegs me as an oddball or Philistine, but I LIKE the woody kits. Does anybody know of a set of rims that mimics the old plain round hubcaps of the original woodies?


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 Post subject: Tired of Honda, looking to become Flex owner

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:55 am 
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Welcome, FrankBullitt! I actually kinda like the woody look too, not enough to do it but it doesn't look as bad as some people say IMHO. I like to use www.tirerack.com to browse for wheels since they show you a picture of the rim on your vehicle. Others may do that too but they're the ones I know of.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:07 am 
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Welcome to the Flex Nation! I left the Honda world myself. The MDX was too small and too pricey, and the Pilot was just too ugly to even bother test driving!

As for black or blue, I'm quite fond of the new Steel Blue/Silver combo for 2010 myself.

As for Ecoboost or no, how big is your checkbook vs how patient are you in traffic. Since I don't need all-wheel drive in Texas, the amount of money wouldn't make sense (and my wife would howl at the over $40K price tag).

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:41 am 
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Welcome to the fold. I'm also a Japanese car convert though I was a Ford guy before that. I went Dark Ink Blue with the White Suede top and I think it looks great though some would argue that it looks too black after the Sun goes down.

I'm not a fan of fake wood kits but I am searching for a wheel and Baby Moon hub setup for my Flex. The big problem is finding something that will fit. The largest I've been able to track down are 17" steel wheels which will take a standard hub cap and chrome ring. I'd like to go at least 18" so my sidewall doesn't have to be huge. I'm also concerned about tire width. If I'm ever able to find something to fill those wheel wells I'll let you know.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:35 am 
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Welcome back. The "quality gap" between Asian and American manufacturers has, for all intents and purposes, been eliminated. And while I personally believe Ford is superior to either GM or Chrysler, and Ford's fit and finish and "perceived quality" or "feel" is head-and-shoulders above either of its government-salvaged counterparts, the fact of the matter is that when it comes down it, it's actually pretty tough to find a manufacturer who produces unreliable vehicles altogether, and most variances exist as individual models rather than an entire brand.

Even so, while Honda earned every bit of the marketshare they won, they've become SO ubiquitous that not only do they all seem to blend into the background static, but they had absolutely NO basis to innovate further or invest one dime more than necessary as long as everyone else was building poorer vehicles by comparison. Now the tables have turned, and many of Ford's newest vehicles not only meet or exceed their competitors' very best vehicles, they also reflect Ford's "hunger" for customers and how much religion they've gotten, something that just doesn't exist in the same-old perfunctory offerings being made nowadays.

With the engineering science being as advanced as it is, reliability is something that can almost be presumed inherent to new vehicles. Just like 250HP moving a 2-ton vehicle and 9-second 0-60 times would have been considered to be smokin' 20 years ago, the very worst enw vehicles on the road today are more reliable than the very best were not very long ago, all while being amazingly more complex.

Anyway, welcome back to "the fold". I can only speak for myself, but it feels tremendous to be refreshing the vehicles I own with Ford models, knowing that I'm not only doing the best thing for the North American economy at the moment, but that I'm also getting the best, and most enjoyable, vehicles for my money in the process. I'm actually a very proud Ford owner.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:47 am 
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Madlock, WELL SAID BUD!!!!! ONE HUGE +1! - Frank, welcome to the forum!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:54 pm 
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As per usual madlock is on the money. Perceived quality is becoming a thing of the past as more automakers are erasing the buffer that Honda and Toyota have enjoyed for far too long.

The real trick is staying relevant while improving. Ford shows this with the Mustang. The reason it continues to do so well is because of the marginal improvements it can offer almost every year. It has become very damaging to keep a floundering vehicle in your lineup while you try to make it better. Take a look at the Sebring. I swear they build that vehicle to keep the memory of the Pontiac Grand Am alive. The real problem is that people keep buying them which goes to show that anything will sell if it's cheap enough. Sometimes it's good to kill off a car and bring it back when you can actually offer something decent.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:51 am 

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madlock wrote:
I can only speak for myself, but it feels tremendous to be refreshing the vehicles I own with Ford models, knowing that I'm not only doing the best thing for the North American economy at the moment, but that I'm also getting the best, and most enjoyable, vehicles for my money in the process. I'm actually a very proud Ford owner.


Other then the crazy room in the Flex, and the fact Honda does not make anything bigger then 5' relaxation IMHO. The economy is another reason I got a N. American brand....
..also save on insurance $$$$ :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:12 am 

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madlock wrote:
Just like 250HP moving a 2-ton vehicle and 9-second 0-60 times would have been considered to be smokin' 20 years ago, the very worst enw vehicles on the road today are more reliable than the very best were not very long ago, all while being amazingly more complex.


No kidding. My plans are to sell my G35 myself as the dealer won't give me anywhere near book value since I'm doing Xplan. It's not a problem for me - I sold my Explorer myself back in 03 and it was a smooth process and gave me $2k more than any dealer wanted to give me.

But in the meantime, I've been scouring Craigslist for some $500-1k beater to get me through as I'll probably have to order the Flex. One that looked decent was a 91 Tempo (hey, it's only for 1-2 months). I was reading some reviews and it was 0-60 in 13 seconds. OUCH. I've not driven something that slow in a LONG time. Heck even the cheapest POS can do it in around 10 secs now.

Back to the topic of quality. When I bought the G35, Infiniti was the #2 or 3 brand for quality. My wife also bought an 03 Escape earlier in the year. Guess what? Both have had minor issues in the beginning. Both have needed expensive repairs out of warranty to the AC systems - mine was the computer and hers was the AC compressor. Needless to say I think they are all about equal so you may as well just buy what you like.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:05 am 

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I had not owned an American car for over 15 years before I purchased a Flex. I agree to an extent that the gap has decreased in overall quality between Japanese and American Automobiles, but they still are not quite there in overall quality control. The design and look of the Flex is outstanding, but Ford still needs a few years to get the quality control in order as well as paying attention to the details - the thing that most of America lacks. The Flex is still missing a few surfaces that should be of "soft" composite, and the hard plastic could be a better grade. The thing that irks me overall, is to hear of so many detail issues that owners have - doors out of line, rattles on delivery, and dimples in plastic trim to name a few. My wife is 1/2 Japanese and has family in Japan which we try to visit as often as we can. That culture does not "settle" in any aspect of life - they strive for perfection. The American way is to "half-ass" it! Now don't get me wrong - we love our Flex at this point - I just get tired of hearing how American cars are right there with the Japanese. We are close, but need not be complacent or that gap will increase again. Get rid of the unions and let people be held responsible for their work, and we may eliminate that gap! Now to the point - we too looked at the Honda Odyssey and felt the Flex was better in design, room, and quality of ride for the money. Time will tell on reliability. I do have to say that the Ford service department at my dealer is better than any Honda, Toyota, or Lexus dealer I have used in the past.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:24 am 
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flexibility's Photos

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FrankBullitt wrote:
Now it's a matter of which Flex- blue or black(I'd love a dark Highland green), and Ecoboost or not. Finances this fall(along with deals) will determine the winner. I was hoping for a tan leather interior( I am ready for a change from black or grey) but I suppose one can't have everything.

I know it pegs me as an oddball or Philistine, but I LIKE the woody kits. Does anybody know of a set of rims that mimics the old plain round hubcaps of the original woodies?

I haven't had the chance to drive an Ecoboost Flex and I'm sure it's quite a kick in the pants to press the go pedal but the standard 263hp engine feels completely "adequate" to me. Plus the Duratec 3.5l has been out a couple years and one would hope they've massaged some of the kinks out. I wouldn't be too quick to be the guinea pig on the initial launch of these Ecoboost engines. Lots to go wrong in all that new shiny spinning stuff on there.

So my advice is stick with the standard 3.5l. And if you take the more "sedate" drivetrain option then I think you should definitely go with the Woody. I think it looks awesome!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:18 pm 

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I am a proud new Flex owner and got rid of my 2003 Honda Pilot...let's talk Honda quality. Now I did buy one of the first several hundred Pilots made, however here are the problems I had which were fixed under warranty (with some arm twisting).
1. Oil jet
2. Door handle plating
3. 4th gear pressure switch
4. timing belt tensioner
5. rear a/c transistor
6. brake switch
7. rear a/c vents (fixed twice)
8. egr valve
9. rear spoiler

If you don't believe me, check out the problems section on www.piloteers.org
I decided to trade it before some of the above started to recur.
The Flex is fantastic (s/p 500 miles) and we love the color, ride, interior, etc.
Considered Edge and Murano, but couldn't beat the Flex's style & value. As for the new Pilots....probably had the same designer as the Acura TL...yuck!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:22 am 

FrankBullitt's Photos

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Thanks for the rear shot of the Woodie Flex- I have not seen that view before, but it looks great. I think the Woodie would look great without the trim on the front fenders. I'd love to see one in person, though. The Pergo floors in our last house looked awesome in family photos, but look as fake as hell in person. Putting this kit on a car if it looks crummy could be an expensive mistake.

I'm inspired by these old Fords- the heavy chrome grill on the '46 reminds me of the new Flex, and I think some wheels like the red steelies/chrome center cap would look cool.

I have no doubt of Honda's less than perfect reliability. Though we have had generally good luck with our Ody, the transmission is a definite Achilles heel. It s our first Honda to make it to 100K w/o serious A/C failure, power window problems, or electrical problems in general. I think Honda's reputation(as well as those of many Japanese manufacturers) is based on wish fulfillment as much as true reliability. Honda WAS good about "goodwill" after-warranty repairs, but that has all but disappeared(according to a Honda tech my dad knows) as they are using the economy as an excuse for cutbacks. Interestingly, the salesman at our local ford dealer said while they don't see a lot of disgruntled Honda owners, they see quite a few ex-Toyota owners sick of the "arrogant attitude". They can stick all those Japanese cars where the Rising Sun don't shine.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:23 am 

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Forgot this one


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:13 am 
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I just have to respond to teadubs comments about Ford "half-assing" their designs. Living in Michigan and personally knowing dozons of people who work at Ford, I can tell you that none of them are half-assing their jobs. With the thousand of layoffs over the last 5-7 years, the deadwood has been pruned and the ones left are busting their ass everyday.

My friends at Ford start their day at 6:30-7:00 am and don't ever get home before 6:30-7:00 pm. They often work later than that. Oh, and try to fit lunch in. Most of them brown bag it, eat at their desks, and work through lunch. You can't believe how hard these people are working. And no issue is too small to deal with. Mullahy (Ford CEO) has demanded this.

I am not trying to make any waves here, I just want everyone to know that Ford employees are working as hard as any industry that I know of and the belief that the Asian automakers just work harder and have higher standards is no longer true.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:03 pm 

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fordblue wrote:
I just have to respond to teadubs comments about Ford "half-assing" their designs. Living in Michigan and personally knowing dozons of people who work at Ford, I can tell you that none of them are half-assing their jobs. With the thousand of layoffs over the last 5-7 years, the deadwood has been pruned and the ones left are busting their ass everyday.

My friends at Ford start their day at 6:30-7:00 am and don't ever get home before 6:30-7:00 pm. They often work later than that. Oh, and try to fit lunch in. Most of them brown bag it, eat at their desks, and work through lunch. You can't believe how hard these people are working. And no issue is too small to deal with. Mullahy (Ford CEO) has demanded this.

I am not trying to make any waves here, I just want everyone to know that Ford employees are working as hard as any industry that I know of and the belief that the Asian automakers just work harder and have higher standards is no longer true.

BRAVO!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:06 pm 

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Strawman=bacasan
Glad to hear they are working harder - just get rid of the unions and we will be the best again.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:49 pm 

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That's it? Just get rid of the unions and all's well? What about "half-ass, the American way"? I'm disappointed in how easily you abandon your apostasy.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:05 am 

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Just trying to be positive and keep this to cars - if you want to debate, just send me an email or give me your cell number and we can talk.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:27 am 
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Hey TeaDub,

I think you and I agree more that we disagree. I just wanted to let everyone know that my first hand experience is that Ford employees are working extremely hard to bring us the best products. On the other hand, I agree that the Asian culture generally works harder than the American culture. I was at my nephew's high school graduation in Plano, TX and 80% of the National Honor Society kids were Asian while only about 5% of the entire class was Asian. That has to tell you something about the two cultures. Everyone just needs to know that the days of lazy Ford employees and two hour lunches ended 15 years ago at Ford.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:15 pm 

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Hey Fordblue,
I think you are correct and get what I am trying to say. American cars can be the best if we will work hard and pay attention to details. It is the attitude of people that say Americans are the greatest is what gets us in trouble. I remember the days when you were a fool if you bought a Japanese car, and the Americans took, and still do, things for granted. That is how we became second fiddle and will continue to slide if we do not do something about it. Read my signature - it is Ben Franklin that made that statement. Glad that Ford is working harder on things, but we still need to strive to be better. Constructive criticism can sometimes be hard to swallow, but if we listen, we all can improve. I do have to say I have the best dealer and service department with Ford!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:13 am 

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TeaDub wrote:
Read my signature - it is Ben Franklin that made that statement.

That quote isn't from Ben Franklin, it was George Santayana! Not even an American!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:42 pm 

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I do stand corrected. I misread that on the website with Patriotic quotes. Please forgive me all. I do think it still hits home regardless of who said it. Strawman - I would love to sit down and meet with you, it would be a good debate. Now back to cars everyone!!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:19 pm 
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fordblue wrote:
Hey TeaDub,
I think you and I agree more that we disagree. I just wanted to let everyone know that my first hand experience is that Ford employees are working extremely hard to bring us the best products. On the other hand, I agree that the Asian culture generally works harder than the American culture. I was at my nephew's high school graduation in Plano, TX and 80% of the National Honor Society kids were Asian while only about 5% of the entire class was Asian. That has to tell you something about the two cultures. Everyone just needs to know that the days of lazy Ford employees and two hour lunches ended 15 years ago at Ford.


Things like pride and honor don't really apply in the US of A unless you're talking about organized sports.

In countries like Japan and Korea the workers take a great deal of pride in themselves when the company they serve (for a nominal fee) does well. Here we keep our eye on our paychecks and make sure they keep coming. If there may be a problem with paychecks in the future or job losses, rather than working harder to ensure our product (which admittedly may be beyond hope) comes out as good as it possibly can we stop working.

I am generalizing.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:01 pm 

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Well said there4graham. If we would just get Americans to do as you say, we would be on top again! Most Americans seem to mistake arrogance for pride.

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