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My Roadster Odyssey - Joined the Club

Discussion in 'Roadster 2008-2012' started by Matteni, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Matteni

    Matteni Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Well - I have been semi-active here so some of you have heard from me but wanted to share my journey to Roadster ownership that finally culminated with me be the proud owner of 314 in Twilight Blue with now 10,000 miles (more on that later).

    If you want the short story I flew 2500 miles in the middle of the night and ended up with one of the (if not the) nicest remaining 1.5's in the country (battery close to new and interior still even smells new) with everything as delivered (soft top has never been removed from the original bag).

    More importantly, I made 3 new friends in 24 hours each of which I can't wait to see again.

    It started in August 2 weeks before my daughter left for her freshman year at NYU. Her old Cadi was burning oil bad and she had run it low countless times. We were just trying to get a couple more weeks out of it when it died a terrible lower end engine death. I was able to get $500 for it which was $100 less than the batteries I put on it 1 week prior.

    We have 4 kids (3 in college and one in next year) and 5 cars and was thinking I would just get something cheap to replace it. My wife never gets much say in it and didn’t this time as I started playing with a used electric car not made by Tesla (cheap!). I went to Carvana as I was very interested in their buying experience. During an NYU college visit I purchased a car from my phone in the hotel bed in 10 mins! It was an Ocean Blue e-Golf (I am a car guy and the reviews were solid). We have a 7-day “test drive” to see if wife liked it. Carvana – by the way was AMAZING. The people remind me of the ones that started Tesla. They go WAY out of their way to make you happy and do extras you were not expecting. Best car buying experience EVER.

    OK well while we loved the e-Golf performance and handling – it felt more like a kid’s car than an adult one and my wife didn’t much care for it (she was driving an 09 MB R320 and liked the MB look/feel/comfort).

    So I – the car guy – stumbled onto the only other Tesla stuffed glider by accident – the MB B250e. What? You never heard of an MB B250e? Don’t feel bad – even the people at MB have never heard of it. If you want to check it out – click here.

    Anyway, it is a GREAT car that travels about 90 miles on standard charge and 120 on range charge which is more than enough to cover my wife’s commute. MB knows how to screw a car together and Tesla knows battery tech. Why they didn’t even TRY to sell them is a mystery to me but we love ours. BTW 2017 fully loaded sticker = $50,000. We got ours with 4900 miles for $19,900 (over $7/mile depreciation with 2 years warranty left!). If you need a commuter - you really can't do much better IMHO.

    Fast forward to November with me needing to put up Christmas Lights on the house. For those in areas where that is not a thing, it is the time of year when dads risk their lives under social pressure to hang Christmas Tree lights all over their roof or feel the scorn of kids and neighbors alike. I hate myself for falling (pun intended) for this every year.

    OK – garage talk. When we moved I required a 3 car garage (for my 91 NSX I have had since 1997) but wife found perfect house with a 2 car garage. My solution was to rebuild my garage and install a ONE post lift from Bendpac. I know – little crazy and there is a 10 page story about it on NSXprime.com I will have to dig up someday.

    The lights are above the garage (attic) and I couldn’t get them out because the NSX battery was dead and couldn’t move the car. Then I remembered the last time I moved the car and it was LAST Christmas. That is when I knew it was time to let her go.

    I then found this forum and fell in love with the Roadster. Always a fan of the Elise, the Roadster seemed perfect for me. Fun, electric, no gas, and with a little luck some appreciation over time.

    I found a 1.5/3.0 car in TN and was invited to come out and stay with and visit a long-time member of this forum whose wife was away so we could geek out on the car for 24 hours. I loved him, his car, his friends, and he was so kind/generous. Unfortunately, I also learned that the Roadster is a far different animal than the NSX for ergonomics. I had planned to sell my daily AND my NSX to pay for it and thought wife could/would drive it too to make the economics work.

    After an hour I knew wife would not want to use this and I had to adjust my budget by a LOT to keep the Roadster and my daily driver.

    I learned, however, I couldn’t get the Roadster out of my head. In context for my 25th anniversary, I rented my dream car. A gen II Ferrari California in Vegas for 2 days. I thought I would get the bug but I didn't. I enjoyed that car and may get one someday but it wasn't like how the NSX and the Roadster were to me.

    Also I had to have Twilight Blue or I would regret it.

    Then The_User posted his for sale. 9900 miles. Hard Top. CAC of 160 (new was not that much higher). Soft top never been removed from bag. CAN JR, 120V Charger, Tesla Wall Charger. All books, keys, etc. Basically a “new” 2008 Roadster that even smelled new. A friend with no kin had passed sadly and left it to him and I was able to quickly make a deal (before selling or even listing the NSX). Wife not too happy but I am a master salesman (why she married me) and I wore her down over time.

    Yesterday I flew to Seattle to meet the seller who kindly drove a couple of hours with his wife to pick me up from the airport. We had about a 90 min drive to the garage where the car was located and it felt more like 9 mins. We talked about the car, his friend, kids, the local area, life, and the many projects they have going on. I really enjoyed it and only had wished my wife was with me to meet them too (we will be back). Just lovely people. The only downside was the weather. It was raining cats and dogs with tons of standing water on the highway. Not ideal for a drive 80 miles back to the shop where I was going to leave it and eventually have it shipped 32 hours home to St. Louis.

    We got to the small garage where they were storing and restoring some VERY cool old ICE cars. Old Bugs, Porsche 356’s, etc. Gear head’s delight. They had EVERYTHING ready for me. They went and got 3 day temp tags, all the paperwork was located from the original owner after hours of searching his stuff, and the title was there. The car was absolutely immaculate. Everything that was promised and then some. We closed the deal, snapped a picture, hugged them (I like to hug) and I was on my way to meet Carl Medlock at his shop.

    I pulled into a Five Guys along the way and tried to figure out the car with little luck. I had brought an ipod to Bluetooth adapter that powers from the ipod cord but no luck. I tried to get the powerwall charger to fit in the trunk – no luck. Dusty and dirty back on the passenger seat (they gave me a towel to put down but still).

    While in to eat birds pooped all over the car so in the pouring rain I am googling and trying to find a damn carwash (coin) where I can spray that stuff off. After 3 tries I found one and got a lot of looks from people for sure!

    OK – driving back in the pouring rain was an adventure as you are about to witness. The car had nearly new tires (3 years old but tons of tread) but really likes to tramline on the highway (when it wasn’t hydroplaning). The one thing I noted was how WELL the wiper worked when it started making a funny noise – then a clunk – then some more violent noise – then nothing – no wiper at all! It was dusk (have I mentioned how awful the lights are!?!) and I basically could not see the road or many of the cars around me. I hobbled into WallMart along the way and didn’t know what to do. I text Carl and he said the rain lets up in about 15 more miles. Do I risk it? Try to apply RainEx treatment (has to be bone dry)? What dumb luck!

    I decided to risk it and ran AC/Heat defrost to make sure at least there was nothing inside the car. Then due to an accident ahead everyone suddenly was stopping.

    That is everyone but me!

    I hit the brakes and was shocked how little response there was. I wasn’t going to make it so I pulled rapidly on the wheel into the shoulder to avoid missing the cars in front and give the guy in back enough time to stop too. Whew! Have I mentioned the brakes suck on the stock car??

    Another cool thing was on the trip seeing the OD roll from 9999 to 10000 miles.

    I eventually made it to Carl’s shop where he patiently waited for me.

    Carl, if you don’t know, is the Tesla Roadster whisperer and was the regional service manager across many states before opening his own shop. He has more knowledge of these cars than Tesla in many cases.

    Now get this – he just got married and it was Sat night but he gave me an awesome tour of all the Roadsters he had on site. Showed me a pulled battery pack. Showed me some really cool Tesla info he alone has accumulated.

    We talked about life too and raising kids, running a business, and how to treat people if you want to stay in business.

    I then decided to leave it with him for a month and have the following done to the car.

    1) New LED light (high/low) installation and testing to make sure no errors (or install small resisters)
    2) Full PEM update/upgrade including the insulation materials
    3) Stage II sound reduction (he goes above and beyond the Tesla approach by removing and fully taking apart the tub, doors, etc.
    4) New wireless carplay/android auto head unit and new 500w Amp
    5) New wiper arm
    6) New TPMS sensors (he can source and program MUCH less than Tesla)
    7) New brake pads (CarboTech 1521) and fluid

    Sounds really expensive (and not cheap) but Carl made me an offer on the Powerwall and a package deal to do it all together (saves some labor). I know in St. Louis I won't have much support and this was my big chance to set the car up for success. I encourage anyone in/out of the area to reach out to Carl should they need any preventative or upgrades.

    Also big thanks to many of you! These are all things I learned about after many hours of reading posts and helpful hints (and talking) to many of you. Thank you!

    It is going to take 3 weeks with the current backlog and a full week to perform everything.

    So now I have to wait 4-6 weeks missing her while I get everything perfect.

    After hanging with Carl for a couple hours he (and his wife) drove me personally to my hotel.

    The day started at 2AM Seattle time and ended at 9PM, 17 hours later. I was exhausted but very happy to have my dream car, be getting all the updates/upgrades I really wanted AND picked up 3 friends along the way!
     
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  2. Roadster

    Roadster JdeMO Powered

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1,267
    Location:
    SoCal
    Fun read! I think we all have similar stories; esp. about that moment we realize we're rolling with an anemic stock Elise brake setup + pad glazing with 800+ lbs of batteries in tow :eek:

    The wait will be excruciating but it will be well worth it when the car finally arrives at its new home!
     
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  3. Roadster

    Roadster JdeMO Powered

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1,267
    Location:
    SoCal
    Oh, and FWIW (and I'm not a salesman for them, just a huge proponent of this accessory), in addition to all the work being performed at Carl's, if there's any budget left, you may want to also consider having him install one of the few remaining (if any left) JdeMO kits QC Charge sells here. I opted for this over a 3.0 since it was 1/10th the price and gave me the freedom to drive the car further and longer without concern. There's no better cure for Roadster range anxiety than being able to DCFC in the wild from nothing to 80% in about an hour! And, FWIW, QC Charge also sells a version for MB B-Class here if you want to throw your better half some love for putting up with your constant automotive shenanigans. There's an extensive discussion about JdeMO here on TMC and here on SpeakEV.
     
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  4. Matteni

    Matteni Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Tempting!

    I heard about the MB B250e JdeMO kit. The rumor was MB didn't do it out of the box because - wait for it - they didn't want to re-engineer the gas door on the B Class they sell in Europe. Can you imagine something so stupid as that?

    I might have to skip the additional updates to the Roadster for now. My commute is only 6 miles/day and we don't have too many long-distance travel plans (I have an awesome 2010 BMW e93 hardtop convertible in dark blue for long journeys and we can even bring the dog in the back). Having 180 miles on a standard charge (when your "other" BEV only gets 85) seems like unlimited range! LOL

    What was REALLY tempting is Carl has one set remaining of Ferrari spec carbon-ceramic rotors that are much lighter and last forever with no fade ever.

    Just like with NSX ownership always more things than budget but I am really happy with the sensible (to me at least) updates and upgrades to the interior noise, PEM, lighting upgrades, brake upgrades, and major stereo upgrades.

    and thank you for your kind words (and for reading)!
     
  5. da2ny

    da2ny 2010 Roadster Sport Twilight Blue #913

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2018
    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    The MB B250e was done strictly as a California Compliance Vehicle.
     
  6. Matteni

    Matteni Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    St. Louis
    I had heard that it was available in at least one Eastern State (New Jersey?). I know it was available in a few Western States other than California (link below)

    Autotrader - 2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e: New Car Review

    That said I'm sure most of them were sold in California and a good reason why no one has ever seen or heard of one.

    You can find them nationally at carmax and other national dealers now
     
  7. Brentt

    Brentt Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2015
    Messages:
    269
    Location:
    Tulsa, Okla.
    Great story. Welcome to the club!
     
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  8. gregd

    gregd Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    2,293
    Location:
    CM98
    Great read, thanks for sharing. And welcome to the group!

    The original brakes on the Roadster are definitely a problem, as you found out. Two problems. First, the pads, which you are addressing. But the rotors themselves aren't good - they rust within milliseconds of any hint of moisture, and it takes a couple of revolutions for the rust to get scraped off before there's any friction. You might ask @titaniumdave if he has any more of the "2 piece custom rotor"s left. They work much better than the original, if only for the lack of rust. Also lighter and they don't have the little holes that are useless since they plug up with dust.

    Enjoy your new ride!
     
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  9. Bunnak

    Bunnak Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Irvine, CA, USA
    Welcome to the club! Thank you for sharing!
     
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  10. drewski

    drewski Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2019
    Messages:
    344
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Great story!

    What are you using for the Android Auto head unit? Are you doing a double-din conversion?

    And 500W amp!?! :eek:
     
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  11. Matteni

    Matteni Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    St. Louis
    TitaniumDave is a legend on the NSX boards and I am running his setup on the Acura (LOVE them). Unfortunately, he is out. I might consider getting in on the next group buy.

    Just wish I could pull the trigger on carbon ceramics. So light, last forever, no rust, no fade. What this car should have had from the get go IMO.
     
  12. Matteni

    Matteni Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Medlock & Sons has a custom amp bracket they use and a tried and true 500w amp everyone seems to love.

    Head unit - would LOVE to get wireless andriod auto just announced at CES but don't want to wait.

    Leaning on this one - Sony XAV-AX8000 Digital multimedia receiver (does not play CDs) at Crutchfield

    I like the lower optional mounting position and ability to tilt.

    I thought about the double din but want to keep the car mostly stock and easily returned to stock for future buyer who might be looking as an investment.
     
    • Like x 1
  13. drewski

    drewski Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2019
    Messages:
    344
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Nice looking unit.

    I haven't looked too hard, but do want Android Auto. People have posted about the Android based Joying, but it looks like that just mirrors the phone so you don't get the new car screen interface, so one of these "brand name" looks like the way to go for the best Android Auto experience.

    Wonder if the 9" screen will just be too big. Need to find that post of a Halo install!
     
  14. Matteni

    Matteni Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    St. Louis
    I wonder too. I know this will block part of the vents but this has me really thinking.

    Pioneer AVH-3500NEX DVD receiver at Crutchfield

    I really don't need the screen all of the time and I love the idea of hiding it away. Only 7" too.

    What do you think? Would this work in your opinion?
     
  15. drewski

    drewski Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2019
    Messages:
    344
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    This would work. There was a post about the older 3300NEX.

    It will hit the wiper stalk, from what i've read, unless you trim off a bit and cap it somehow.
     
  16. CM_007

    CM_007 Carl Medlock

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2014
    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    WA
    We dismantle the stock, trim it and put the cap back on. It looks factory.
     
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  17. DanielFriederich

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Neusatdt/W., Germany
    .... and addicted to the Roadster.... welcome to the club :D
    I had my Model S for half a year and the infection spreaded leaving me with the Roadster as 2nd car...
    And did I mention: even it can be a beast and a pain the a... you still gonna love it...
     
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  18. Matteni

    Matteni Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Thank you everyone for all the kind comments

    I've got a ton of work for the Tesla whisperer himself and I'll let everyone know how the enhancements worked out

    I'll also let everyone know what debtors prison is like and if you really do get conjugal visits!

    Most of all I'm looking forward to enjoying my new car and sharing my experience with others
     
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