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Honda Civic Si/SiR Maintenance and Repair

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  • Had my 04 Si 2 months now, 1600 miles. Have noticed a low pitch "creaking" noise when I turn the steering wheel to either side, sounds similar to the noise that brakes would make at a stop light when you let up on the pedal slightly, any thoughts would be appreciated before I waste time at the dealer.
  • civicsircivicsir Posts: 1
    My question is I just recently bought a 00 civc SI. I put in mobile 1 20/50 and my gas milage sucks butt, could this be the problem with the VTEC? maybe it does not like 20/50. What type should i try? it uses no oil and I run it hard EVERYTIME I get into it, but the cost of the gas is killing me. my friend has a 03 celica GT and we drove for 200 miles (oh we live in GERMANY)at about 100 MPH and he used 1/2 tank of fuel I used 3/4 tank? is this because of the higher RPM. Did you guys know that the 00 SI will run 142MPH at 7800 RPM? I have a pic to prove it.. lol
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    I don't know if the EU oil ratings are different from US. But if you are using Mobil 1 20/50, I assume it is 20W-50, you are KILLING your engine. The 2000 Si was meant to be run on 5W30 or 5W20, or 10W30 in extreme case of oil shortage, not the mollasses like 20W50. I didn't even know that there was Mobil 1 that thick. Maybe Mobil 1 20W50 is for diesels? It's gotta be like tar at ambient temperature. I run my 2002 Si on Mobil 1 0W20 and gas mileage is better than if I used 5W-30. The improvment is not noticeable at first, but when you tabulate MPG's over time, it is there.

    I'd say if you did put 20W50 in your Si, you would need to flush it with oil flush, run it on 0W-20 for a day or two, drain, re-fill with 0W-20 and pray that VTEC solenoids still work.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    Are you sure it is not electric whine? If it were another car, I would say that it was power steering pump/rack noise, but we have no power steering pump or hydraulic rack.
  • I wouldn't call it a whine, sounds like a hinge creaking but not high pitched, more of a metal to metal rubbing sound.
  • markg4markg4 Posts: 44
    2000 si with 56k miles. i was told i have a bad wheel bearing and it would be around $300 to fix. it seems unusual that it would happen with such low miles so i was wondering if any one else has had this issue. also, does the price to fix it sound reasonable? thanks!
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    Do you have aftermarket wheels on? Alot of so called "modifiers" put larger diameter wheels on. This puts more stress on the hubs and bearings because of the increased rotational momentum and inertia. Some of the aftermarket wheels are heavy too, plus the bigger tires weigh more. Even though a best 17 inch rim is only 15-17 lbs, the increased radius quadruples the effective inertia from the 15 inch wheel of the same mass. Plus higher cross section tire weighs more at the extremity of the radius. If you don't have aftermarket wheels, then it is very premature for the bearings to go, unless dirt got in the bearing somehow.
  • markg4markg4 Posts: 44
    no aftermarkets-100% stock. i did replace the oem tires with conti extreme 195/55's in Oct 03. is it common to hear noise when i brake with the bad bearing? that is the only time i notice anything.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    It could be a bad tire. We have the Extremes on our 03 Si and had to have 2 replaced because they were defective. You might want to go to a tire shop with a high speed balancer to see if your tires are in spec.
  • Being the old fart that I am, I am finding that I would like a little bit softer ride without spoiling the Si handling. Tires are at 30 lbs cold as recommended. Would I be making a mistake to keep them at 28 lbs or so....any opinions?
  • mautomauto Posts: 75
    Huh, I have the opposite problem with my 02 Civic EX. It has the stock sloppy, bouncy suspension that I try to compensate for by keeping max pressure (as stated on tire) in the tires. It still rides like a mid 70s Lincoln over dips in the road though. Too bad I test drove it when it was about 15 degrees out when the suspension firms up a bit. Now it's summer, there's way too much body motion, especially from the rear.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    I think you may be in danger of a blow out. The max pressure on the side wall is the maximum pressure the tire can take. If you inflate it to the max cold, then once the tire has warmed up, the pressure will rise and may cause blow out.

    You may want to change the shocks and springs, to be on safer side.
  • chaz1chaz1 Posts: 3
    Hello All,

    In one of the other forums I had written that my 02 SiR was grinding whenever shifting from 4th to 5th gear. I brought it into my local Honda dealership today and just heard back from them that "5th gear is gone". They are ordering a new 5th gear and will replace it under warranty. Anyone else have this sort of problem?? Oh, I also had a creaky sounding/feeling clutch peddle at the top end of pressing it in, they lubricated the linkage and everything seems fine now.

    Regards,

    Chaz
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    Chaz, there are a few people who have similar simptoms. Since the new Si body code is EP and it is a Hatch, you may want to check out a website that is only for the owners of this vehicle. Unfortunatley, I can not post a link to it, but you can find it on your own.
  • chaz1chaz1 Posts: 3
    Thank you for the message. I have found the website ;) This may sound dumb but what does "EP" stand for.

    Regards,

    Chaz
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    It is Honda's internal designation for the body type. It is in your VIN number, it shouls read SHHEP3XXXXX The new Si hatchback are EP3, current civic coupe is EM (I believe), the 96-2000 hatchback was EG, and the coupe was EK (I am not too sure about it though). The engines have codes too, current Si, just like RSX has K20A3 (K is the engine series, 20 is 2.0 liters, A3 half VTEC head), RSX-S has K20A2, and I think JDM Type R has K20A. Previous Si had B16 not sure on the head designation. Current Civic EX has D17, and so on. The integra had B17 and B18, depending on the year.
    The beauty of Honda engine design, is that most parts are interchangeable. You can build a "frankenstein." There are people there who have built an EG with K24 (from TSX) block A2 head (from RSX-S), and bottom from A3 (from the Si).
  • kauai215kauai215 Posts: 190
    You wrote:
    "Being the old fart that I am..."

    Me, too! Howdy. :-)

    You wrote:
    "Tires are at 30 lbs cold as recommended."

    Is that 30 psi both front and rear?

    I ask because on our 2002 Si the recommended pressures are 33/30 psi Front/Rear. The '02 has 15" wheels with 195/60 tires. I think you have 16" wheels on your ‘04, right?

    What size are your tires?

    As to the pressure question, yes, you'll get a slightly softer ride with slightly lower pressures, but I always regard the manufacturer's recommendation for tire pressure as being a MINIMUM, below which one may be sacrificing not only performance but safety as well.

    Generally, I think manufacturers tend to recommend the lowest SAFE pressures. I suspect they’d really prefer that you ran your tires at higher pressures, but the problem is that the ride harshness can increase markedly, which most consumers would complain about. So. . . they recommend the lowest pressures compatible with safety.

    Tire pressures are a compromise. Higher pressures (up to a point) yield better performance and greater safety in consequence. Among other issues, higher pressures reduce tire squirm at speed. This keeps the tires from experiencing potentially damaging heat build-up at speed. Tire manufacturers (and even the Brit-built Si in ’02) recommend in their literature to increase your tires 3 psi for high-speed cruising on the interstates, even more if you completely load your car to maximum capacity with luggage and passengers for a trip. In the latter instance, I would pump my tires up to the maximum cold psi indicated on the tire sidewall.

    Higher pressures will yield better steering response with noticeably crisper turn-in response. Try it, you’ll see. Of course, you’ll also note that the superior performance doesn’t come for free; the ride is noticeably harsher.

    You get to choose between optimum performance and safety. . . and comfort.

    Lower pressures fail to support the tire sidewall as well as higher pressures causing the tire to roll over onto the shoulder too much under hard cornering. Among other things, this decreases the contact patch, and thus, grip. Try autocrossing and you’ll quickly see what I mean. Now, you might argue that you don’t autox, and I understand, but the issue here is about that once-a-year violent evasive maneuver you’re forced to perform to avoid an accident at speed. Such events are what I call “imponderables.” They happen, and you never know when they may happen. “Be prepared” is my motto. :-)

    In extreme cases of low pressure coupled with sudden hard turning forces on the tire sidewall, the tire can roll over enough to cause the wheel rim to actually touch the pavement. This is ungood. The metal wheel rim can dig into the pavement and WHOA! you’re rolling onto your roof in a heartbeat.

    You do not want to do this. You will be unhappy. ;-)

    (Parenthetically, this has been suggested to be part of the explanation for the high incidence of rollovers in certain SUVs. At least one of those manufacturers, as I recall, is now recommending a markedly HIGHER minimum tire pressure on the affected vehicles. Among other things, the lower-than-desirable tire pressures may have caused overheating in the tire casing resulting in a blow-out, which is the ultimate low-pressure situation. Food for thought, yes?)

    Other points: Higher pressures should yield better tire wear (within reason), should yield better fuel economy although probably only a wee bit better, and higher pressures (+ 10 psi is recommended!) will yield markedly better performance in the wet, as the slightly domed tire now has a smaller footprint increasing the pressure of the tire onto the pavement, punching through the water and resisting hydroplaning much better. Finally, changing the balance of tire pressures front to rear is a method employed to fine tune the handling characteristics of a car.

    Isn’t this fascinating? ;-)

    There is much more to the subject than I’ve discussed here, and if the subject interests you I can refer you to a number of websites you might find interesting. As I recall, without digging into my Favorites folder, BF Goodrich has an excellent discussion of all sorts of issues pertaining to tire performance on their website, and it’s geared towards the general consumer wishing to know more but not too much. (In other words, they give you shorter answers than I do! ;-)

    You are wise to have asked this question about lower tire pressures than Honda recommends. People tend to take tires for granted. Yet, your tires are your “lifeline.” Those four fist-sized contact patches are all you have to control your vehicle through. When things go awry with one or more of those patches, bad things can happen.

    I make a point of doing a quick walk-around of my vehicle before I enter it. Just a quick glance at my tires to see that they’re properly inflated. With practice anyone can readily discern a 10 psi loss in a tire. A 10 psi loss is a serious safety issue.

    So, what pressures do I run?

    Since we do a preponderance of highway driving (60 mph+, and up to 85+ (to hurry up and get out of the way of the faster guys on the interstate!)), I run 36/33 psi Front/Rear in our Si, and I run 37/35 psi F/R in our Mazda Protege5, which calls for 32/32.

    So, what do I think YOU should do?

    I urge you to keep your tires at least at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressures, raising them higher as conditions warrant, but never dropping lower than those recommended pressures.

    For a softer ride, you might consider a tire with a slightly taller sidewall (more flex) when it comes time to buy new tires. Check out Tire Rack on the web for how tires can influence the ride, etc. They’re an excellent place to buy tires, too. I highly recommend them. (I have no connection to them apart from being a very satisfied customer.)

    I hope my thoughts have been useful, informative, and helpful (if perhaps more than you’d bargained for! ;-)
  • thanks for the input. Stock tires are 205/55 r16 89V. 30/30 psi recommended cold. I didn't exactly buy the Si to be a go cart, I wanted a 2 door hatch and considered the performance as an added bonus. The engine and trans ease and smoothness are nice but I sometimes question the body assembly.(little squeaks here and there just enough to be annoying)Could that be due to the stiffer suspension? If I wanted a softer ride would a different tire really make much difference as long as the suspension was the same? ...........
  • kauai215kauai215 Posts: 190
    You wrote:
    “Thanks for the input.”

    You’re welcome. :-)

    That’s interesting that Honda changed the tire pressure balance front to rear from the 33/30 for our ’02 Si to your 30/30 on the ’04. I wonder if they altered the suspension setup from the original as well, or if they just think a little more understeer (aka push) is a better idea for American drivers? Running 3 psi more in the fronts than the rears would normally give a bit more grip up front, reducing understeer a bit.

    You wrote:
    “I sometimes question the body assembly.(little squeaks here and there just enough to be annoying).”

    I know. Ours is still pretty good in that regard, although we’ve both gotten the impression that the doors no longer close with the same authoritative, solid thunk as when it was new. And for a while last year we had an odd creaking sound from the steering in parking lots, etc. at low speeds making tight turns. Then it went away. Wasn’t it you who had mentioned something similar recently?

    The overall build quality seems a wee bit less than our previous Hondas. Given the choice I’d prefer an American-built Honda rather than this Brit-built one, but the Si isn’t built in the USA. All the same, we like the car and hope it will last us 100K miles or so without problems.

    You wrote:
    “Could that be due to the stiffer suspension?” [squeaks and rattles]

    I would think so, sure. It seems reasonable to figure that if you shake something more vigorously over time it will rattle a bit more. Build quality probably has something to do with it as well, but I’m just guessing.

    You wrote:
    “If I wanted a softer ride would a different tire really make much difference as long as the suspension was the same?”

    It depends. ;-)

    Consider this: Going from a 15” standard wheel to the big 17” wheels the kids put on, pairing them with ultra-low profile performance tires like 205/40s with very short and stiff sidewalls will markedly increase ride harshness. I’ve talked to these kids, and they say they like this. Who am I to disagree?

    You’re talking about wanting to reverse this to get a softer and more compliant ride.

    You could fit a 60 series, or maybe even a 65 series tire that was made to ride softer as well (more of a touring tire than a sporting tire) and I’d guess you would see some improvement, at least as much as you’d see by lowering your tire pressures 2 psi all around, maybe more. I don’t know really, I’m just guessing, but it seems reasonable, don’t you think?

    Wheels and tires can make a large difference in ride quality, depending on your choices. And, yes, that’s independent of the suspension setup. I remember learning just how much difference it can make when many years ago I swapped the OEM wheels on our newly ordered VW GTi, replacing them with one inch larger rims and 50 series tires. I’ll never do that again.

    The difference in just a plus-one application was dramatic in this instance, and that was the only change. To be fair I need to note that these particular tires were an unusually short sidewall 50 series, but all the same. The ride difference between our new GTi with the after-market wheels and tires vs. the stock GTi was significant, not subtle. But the tire make and model matters, too, so. . .

    If the aesthetics are of no great interest to you, you might sell your 16” wheels and replace them with 15s like on our Si. Then you could run the 60 or 65 series tire with minimal effect on the speedometer calibration and get a softer ride. You might find a market among the ’02 and ’03 Si owners who’d like to move up to 16s and want the OEM Honda wheels. Maybe you’d even prefer the appearance of the smaller wheels with taller tires; the trend these days is to large wheels and very low profile tires.

    The reality is, especially in this price range, that handling performance gains come at the expense of ride comfort -- there’s no avoiding this trade-off. It’s just a question of where your tolerance level is. (There is a solution -- active suspension systems -- but they remain very expensive, and so we’re unlikely to see these systems anytime soon on cars in this price segment of the market.)

    I understand exactly what you’re saying about the ride harshness getting old. Our ’02 Mazda Protege5 rides like a go kart -- much worse than our Si. In fact, I’ve given some thought to doing the very thing I’ve suggested here, namely dropping down one inch in wheel size and getting a taller tire. I love the P5’s handling responsiveness, but my goodness, a long stretch of rough pavement will transfer whatever’s in your kidneys right to your bladder and fill it to bursting in no time! And then that shaking becomes truly unbearable! ;-)

    In any case, I am definitely going to replace the P5’s OEM 195/50-16s with a taller tire, probably 205/55-16s when the time comes. This will change the speedometer calibration a little, and it may not be quite as crisp and responsive, but will otherwise yield a more compliant ride that on balance I’d prefer.

    If you’re really serious about getting a more compliant ride, buy smaller wheels and pair them with the tallest, touring “comfort” tires that will fit. If you were to move down to 14” wheels, I think you’d find the change truly dramatic. It’s a sensible path to take if you’re more interested in the utility of the car than it’s sportiness. Buy some after-market 14x6 rims and put a 70 or 75 series tire on there, and I’ll bet you won’t believe the difference it will make. Just remember, the currently crisp steering response and grip will be reduced to comparative mushiness.

    As I’ve said, it’s all a trade-off.

    Oh, and you&#146;ll be branded a heretic, of course, should you do this. The kids will come up to you and demand to know what-the-<bleep> did you do to your wheels?! Just tell &#145;em that your expensive 17&#148; BBS forged wheels were stolen and these are just temps. They&#146;ll commiserate and forgive you for otherwise desecrating a perfectly good Si. ;-)
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    If I wanted a softer ride would a different tire really make much difference as long as the suspension was the same?

    Most definately it will. Stock Michelins are pretty stiff tire. Try a Yokohama Avid, or strictly summer tire. The softer compound will make a difference in stiffness. Goodyear runflats will give you the stiffest ride ever due to very thick and reinforced sidewall. Also, going with a different speed rating will either make the ride stiffer or softer. Playing with the inflation will give you an idea where you want to be headed with your tire choice.
  • yes, you are correct I did mention the creaking noise from the front end a few weeks ago. The dealer said they did not see anything wrong but replaced the front struts just yesterday. That surprised me as I was expecting them to smear some grease around and send me on my way. They must make a good buck from the factory on warranty work. Creaking is gone, for now anyway. Only other complaint is trying to get the glove box to stop "rattling" nothing major just annoying at times. Dealer has "tried" to adjust twice. It's plastic rubbing against plastic, stops when you open the drawer. I guess I'll do what everyone else does and turn the radio up.
  • kauai215kauai215 Posts: 190
    You wrote:
    "The dealer said they did not see anything wrong but replaced the front struts just yesterday."

    Thanks for sharing this; I need to talk to my dealer. Who knows? Maybe we need new struts, too.

    The glove box rattles can be a real trial to locate and fix; I don't envy the poor dealers struggling with this kind of problem, as it's almost certainly a money-losing proposition for them. They lack incentive to solve these kinds of problems beyond a quick attempt at a fix.

    If the rattle bothers you sufficiently, and it would bother me, you'll probably need to fix it yourself.

    I'd empty everything on the dash of its contents. Don't forget the parking meter coins stored in the ash tray, etc. Buy some adhesive-backed felt. Progressively pad everything you suspect. With any luck you'll eventually pad the offending parts.
  • Hey, after 3500 miles I think I'm in a love/hate relationship with my Si. Money wise it is the most I have spent on a small car. My 2000 Civic (even though it was a dog) didn't squeek or rattle. It was just a good family sedan. When I got the Si (after 2 test drives) I was expecting a solid car with some pizzaz. I have been annoyed by the "looseness" of the interior compared to my old Civic. Some days seem to be more annoying than others. At other times it seems so quick and smooth I forget about my complaints. I would like to find a spot where I can really open it up and see what she'll do but that is tough in my suburban area. I am still contemplating what to do with the tires, as I would like a little bit softer ride. decisions...decisions....
  • kauai215kauai215 Posts: 190
    You wrote:
    "Hey, after 3500 miles I think I'm in a love/hate relationship with my Si."

    I know what you mean. On the other hand, the problems are largely limited to minor things, however annoying, unlike, say, the Mini Cooper, which has had a long list of problems since its introduction.

    In this price range, what else is there to buy that offers comparable performance and value? Clearly, personal taste and preferences play a key role, and what I like may not appeal to others. Given my preferences for sportscar-like performance, I'm hard-pressed to come up with many alternatives without spending a good deal more.

    The Mini looks very appealing to me, and may be our next purchase. But even without choosing some of the more expensive options (I'd go with the small wheels and taller tires, for example, for the very reasons we're discussing here -- better ride quality), and assuming it could be bought at MSRP, not a markup, the Mini would still end up costing around $21K+. No doubt it's worth it. I'm not sure it's worth $4K+ more than the Si to me at this time. That's $4,000 I could buy other things with like more kayaks, more optics, more...

    You wrote:
    "I would like to find a spot where I can really open it up and see what she'll do but that is tough in my suburban area."

    These cars feel much better at 80-90 mph.

    You wrote:
    "I am still contemplating what to do with the tires, as I would like a little bit softer ride. decisions...decisions...."

    I looked at the tires on the '04 the other day, and they look fairly "tall." If you were to stick with the 16" wheels, I wonder if you'd find enough difference going with a taller sidewall tire to justify the expense of discarding your current tires. It's hard to say, though, without actually trying it. How much is enough difference for you? Who knows?

    If you do go with different wheels/tires, I'd be very interested in reading about your experience.
  • toofasttoofast Posts: 1
    At 1500 miles I began to experience a clicking or cracking noise in the front left end of my new 2004 Honda Civic Si, which of course, the dealership service department cannot hear. The noise appears to be generated from the steering column, and when turning to the left or to the right. It is noticed at a standstill when turning the steering wheel and also when driving at low speed, 5 miles an hour, and when backing up. Not noticeable at higher speeds. Looking to know if anyone else has experienced such issue and found resolution. Thanks, toofast
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,803
    Money wise it is the most I have spent on a small car.

    Sorry about your squeaking issues. Most of the noises I har are coming from the items in the storage bin (under the cupholders), glove box, door pockets, or "under-radio" box. Empty everything from the car and see if you are still getting the squeaking noises. I have a parking permit, that I store in the "under tha radio" bin. It makes noise when I got over rough pavement. Initially I had the driver's cupholder (next to the sideview mirror under the a/c vent) making noise over rough roads, but it went away after it has been loosened with use.

    Pricewise, I paid $500 less for the new 2002 Si than I did for the new '99 Civic EX coupe back in 1999. No options on either car. EX had no ABS, had drums in the rear, no cool shifter and 160 hp, and cost more.
  • kauai215kauai215 Posts: 190
    You wrote:
    &#147;At 1500 miles I began to experience a clicking or cracking noise in the front left end of my new 2004 Honda Civic Si&#148;

    Yes. We, too, experienced this. It appears to be a problem in the front struts, something related to the bearings. Apparently, there is a Honda TSB on this. A Google search did not show me this TSB. One of the sites I found declared that Honda USA &#147;requested&#148; that they not provide TSB&#146;s to the public any longer. Hmm. . .

    Can anyone provide me with a copy of this TSB, or direct me to where I might read it? I&#146;d be grateful.

    A recent contributor just noted that his dealer replaced his struts to correct this problem. I don&#146;t know that strut replacement is necessary, which is why I&#146;d like to read that TSB for myself.

    In our case, the problem persisted for some time last year, but has since disappeared. We are on the verge of going out of warranty, and if we need new struts, as opposed to lube/adjust bearings in the strut towers, I&#146;d sure like to know. At this point I wouldn&#146;t argue that we&#146;re entitled to new struts for free (some pro-rated fee might be fair and reasonable), since we&#146;ve gotten much use out of the current ones, despite the fact they&#146;re probably a long ways from being dead yet. I figure they&#146;re about half way through their useful life.

    The problem here, of course, is that there is no way I&#146;d spring for OEM Honda struts. That would be silly. I&#146;d likely get Koni, Bilstein, Tokiko, or something of the sort, which are vastly superior products.

    We were supposed to get this problem addressed today, but the mechanic we made a specific appointment with, a good man and a former Trans-Am crew chief (a racer, i.e. VERY good), wasn&#146;t in! What?! So, why&#146;d they schedule the appointment, then? <sigh>

    ***** QUESTION: CAN I NAME THIS DEALERSHIP IN THIS FORUM?

    In any case, now we&#146;re re-scheduled for Monday. We&#146;ll see.

    You wrote:
    &#147;. . .which of course, the dealership service department cannot hear.&#148;

    Of course.

    This goes without saying except on rare occasions when stonewalling and denial cannot work. <sigh>

    What you need is that Honda TSB reference number. Can anyone help?
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    If you can't find the TSB info thru http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/, then I would suggest posing your question to 0patience on the M&R board topic Technical Service Bulletins.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • kauai215kauai215 Posts: 190
    Karen,

    I tried the nhtsa site and got this:

    "By authority listed in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 7, there are fees assessed by TIS for this service. We charge a standard labor charge of $38.73 per hour for requests involving computer searches, locating and copying documents."

    I took a quick look at the TSB board, but didn't do a search. Useful looking board, though, and I added it to my Favorites.

    Thanks, Karen.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    I think you should try posting your TSB question over there. One of the TH members, 0patience, has access to most TSBs and can possibly provide the information.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

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