Car maintenance, cleaning, vehicular law, etc.

  • Automotive,  Tech

    A Little Hint When Updating AVIC Firmware

    To update the firmware on the Pioneer AVIC series GPS navigation systems, you need to utilize an SD card formatted in MS-DOS FAT16. If you’re using a Mac, this might be difficult for you to come by because Disk Utility only formats MS-DOS discs in FAT32.

    Of course, the solution is to use the Terminal. BUT FIRST YOU MUST USE Disk Utility TO PARTITION THE SD CARD. The whole reason behind FAT32 was that the FAT16 file system for MS-DOS/Windows had this memory issue where it couldn’t handle any primary or secondary memory (HDD or RAM) larger than 2 Gigabytes. So if you look at machines from the mid to late 90s, you’ll see that they were maxed out at 2GB of RAM and 2GB partitions even if the hard disk had a larger capacity. Well, for whatever reason, the same goes for the firmware upgrade program that is riding on Pioneer’s AVIC series GPS systems.

    If you’re using an SD card larger than 2GB (who isn’t), you’ll first need to make 2GB partitions using Disk Utility. Then use the Terminal to format ONLY THE FIRST PARTITION on the SD card – Essentially making the SD card into a 2GB card.

    The Terminal command you’ll be using is newfs_msdos. You may look at the man pages if you want to learn more, but for now, the command you want is:

    sudo newfs_msdos -F 16 /dev/partition_location

    *partition_location probably being disk1s1 if the SD card is the only storage device other than your main HDD.

    Go ahead and mount this partition using Disk Utility again. Drop the un-zipped AVIC110 folder onto the SD card, and use CleanEject* to eject the SD card without the Mac writing un-necessary invisible files to the volume. Pull the SD card out of the reader, lock it, and you’re ready to put it in your car nav.

    *CleanEject is donation-ware made by JaVaWa. Check them out!

  • Automotive

    Changed Oil

    Mobil 1 0w-40So, another milestone for the Porsche Cayenne. 25,000 miles. The “Check Oil” light came On on the dash, so I knew it was time to change the oil.

    This time, I changed the oil only and didn’t bother with the filter. Maybe I’ll change the filter at 30,000 miles when I also change tires.

    Again, the Cayenne Turbo took 11 qt. of engine oil. 5 qt. of Mobil 0W-40 and 6 qts of Mobil 10W-40 for total of 11 qt. I was lucky one day and found the big 5 qt. jug of 0W-40 at Walmart, selling for $23. Normally, this “high performance” oil is $7 per quart, so $23 was a steal.


  • Automotive

    Porsche Cayenne Trailer Hitch Electronic Harness

    If you have purchased a Porsche Cayenne with the trailer hitch option, you’re in for a rude awakening when you go to connect a boat or trailer to the back of your SUV. You’ll find that there is no socket to connect the electronics for the tail lights, turn signals, and breaks.
    The part in question can be found, of course, on

    When the Cayennes shipped from Germany, the factory in Stuttgart/Leipzig equips vehicles with the trailer option with an Audi/VW harness and covers it with a blank plastic cover. If this were Toyota or Honda, they’d add a US compatible socket at their port build facility (where they add US rated bumpers and other US only options). But Porsche (and probably Audi, VW) does not do this.

    The part you’ll need is the Pollak 11-893P 7-Way Sealed RV OEM Socket. This will add a a US compatible 7 blade socket like the Reese Towpower 74607 7-Way to 4-Way Flat Blade Wiring Adapter with a spring loaded flap, so you can connect/disconnect the trailer electronics at will.

    You’ll just need to remove the four Phillips head screw holding the blank panel, unclip it from the vehicle (becareful not to break the prongs), then insert the Pollak socket in its place, and finally, put the screws back in. It’s an easy DIY additions that costs less than $20 – which would probably be close to $160 at the dealer (A VW dealer quoted $68 just for the socket).

    This probably works for the VW Touareg and Audi SUVs also. Good luck!

  • Automotive

    2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo: Oil & Filter Change

    I know that many Cayenne owners have changed the engine oil and the filter on their own. There are the posts on the Rennlist/Renntech forums to prove that it is user serviceable. But all of the examples have been for the V6 Cayenne or the Cayenne S and not for the V8 Cayenne Turbo. Why is this important? Because the V8 engine is built differently, the drain plugs and filters are not exactly the same as the V6 counterparts.

    I’m guessing, with the >$100,000 price tag of the vehicle, most owners of the Turbo can afford taking their cars into the dealer to have the service department change the oil.

    My problem with that was that I had the most awful time at local dealer. So awful that I’ve written to Dr. Porsche Senior at his grave. Instead of taking the car to the dealer, I decided to do it on my own.

    The closest thing to the Turbo, I could find instructions for,  was the Cayenne Transsyberia. Some Transsyberia owners live in really rural parts of the world and have changed their own oil without going to a dealer or a shop. Too bad I found these instructions AFTER I was already done.

    ***UPDATE*** You must elevate the vehicle and have access from below. You will need a combination of Torx drivers to remove three protective plates from the vehicle to gain access to the drain plug and oil filter housing.

    Any way, the 2008 Turbo only has ONE (1) drain plug as pictured below.

    The oil filter (yellow) is slanted 45 degrees to the right side of the vehicle. Access is inhibited by a U shaped hydraulic line (green).

    You may remove the bolt holding the lines to move them out of the way. There is a hour-glass shaped washer in there, don’t lose it.

    Access to the filter is limited. I couldn’t cover the whole thing with a plastic bag. Try making a deflector with a plastic board or wax lined milk/juice  carton.

    The filter case was hard to access. I used a pair of 12 in. ChannelLock pliers to turn it. The filter is a MAHLE 0X254.

    The car took 11 quarts of Mobil1 0W-40!

  • Automotive

    2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Power Steering Fluid

    Pentosin Central Hydraulic FluidAround 2006, Porsche started using synthetic fluid for the power steering hydraulics. The mineral based Pentosin CHF 7.1 was replaced by Pentosin CHF 11S. According to the Owner’s Manual, Porsche recommends the use of CHF11S or CHF202. The problem on my 2008 Cayenne was that the tank for the hydraulic fluid said “Use only mineral based fluid” in English/German/French.

    I did a little digging and found that all three Pentosin fluid is either Green or Dark Green. The CHF 11S I found at the local O’Reilly Auto Parts was Dark Green, like Christmas Green. But the fluid in my tank was yellow. Not Light Green but YELLOW like Lemonade Yellow. Pentosin 7.1 is lighter colored than 11S or 202, but it’s the color of Mint Julep not Lemonade.

    The Lemonade colored hydraulic fluid suggests that it’s a synthetic oil similar to the Valvoline fluid. Maybe the dealer flushed the system and used American stuff. The dealer this car came from is known to use Valvoline for various systems so it wouldn’t surprise me. It wouldn’t matter mechanically, if the viscosity and heat characteristics match that of Pentosin. But Pentosin IS available in the US, so why not use it.