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Car Problems

See 16 June update further below.

Out for the morning, returning to my car... it would not start. Plenty of battery power, but security system interlock disabled the vehicle and locked the steering. Not possible to crank the engine, or even turn the wheels. Unbolt a part to get at emergency lever to release from Park into Neutral. No problem:

  1. Around 1:30 PM, get out bike, ride down 2500 vertical feet for cell service.
  2. Spend half an hour with AAA, get bad info on possible repair locations, ultimately get flatbed tow truck sent for the 170 mile trip to Reno due around 6:30 PM.
  3. Ride back up 2500 vertical feet to 10,100' Rock Creek Lake, hang out.
  4. Push car (with helpful onlookers), winch, cajole to get onto flatbed—steering column locked, 5400-pound SUV essentially has to be dragged up onto the flatbed using plastic sliding plates in park with parking brake. Finally, it gets onto the bed after 90 minutes or so. My kudos and thanks to the very experienced operator who did not give up (Steve), so that I did not have to spend the night waiting for a dolly tow the next day, which would have meant getting the car to the closed-for-the-weekend dealer.
  5. Ride in cab of tow truck 170 miles to Reno. Good conversation with Steve, the driver.
  6. Arrive about 23:30, sleep overnight in SUV as is my wont, in parking lot at dealer. Perfectly comfy as usual.
  7. Wake at 6 AM, wait for 7:30 AM opening. Dealer is backlogged nearly 2 weeks, but goes out of way to look at car today.

So here I sit in lounge of dealer with a good internet signal. I doubt that my car can be fixed today, but enough hard knocks and setbacks of many kinds over the past decade have taught me one thing: don’t give up or quit. So if not repairable today, I will rent an SUV or minivan and drive south 210 miles to Bishop so I can get up at 4:30 AM to ride 200 miles on my bike (Eastern Sierra Double). When repaired, I’d like to bike up Lee Vining Canyon again and go prepared for a pre-dawn to dusk shoot.

Update 8 July 2017

The Cayenne was fixed back on June 22. I drove the rental minivan to Reno and picked it up. It has been running fine since then.

Even so, I feel I cannot trust it, and I need to get places. I’ve made the decision to sell it to fund a Sprinter van.

Update 22 June 2017

The dealer first replaced the ignition switch—no dice. Then the steering column—nope. Both turned out to be good. Replacing the kessey control board (has something to do with the alarm and keyless entry and so on) fixed the problem. The kessey control module was the problem when it first occurred back in 2016, and this was blamed on the radar unit which had been there for 7 years (I had it disconnected at that first failure). I now believe that a bad circuit board in the kessey unit fried the ignition switch and the steering column and that this misdiagnosis fell hard on me (ruined trips and lots of money). Maybe now things will return to normal, with the ignition switch, steering column and kessey control unit all new. As far as I know, these are the unholy trio involved in the security/alarm/ignition fiasco.

Update 16 June 2017

I love this vehicle (when it runs); nothing else can even compare for on/off road, it’s build quality (mechanically) is unrivalled, truly superb. People think it’s new when it’s 10 years old and with 105K miles , a testament to its superb physical build quality (I bought used when no one wanted them at 26K miles). I want to keep it, but it cannot keep stranding me.

Porsche of Reno (excellent service excepting long delay in getting to my car) now says problem is a failed alarm control unit. Fix will be $1700. That’s on top of similar and greater costs for 3 previous hard fails in 15 months that left me stranded and ruined trips: none of the dealers seem to have fixed the root cause; 3 things all die in 15 months? Porsche parts are high quality, so I cannot believe failure after failure is random.

Summary below: dead column unit, dead 15-month battery, dead ignition switch, dead alarm control unit. So what is the root cause since that many failures in 15 months cannot be a coincidence. A claim 2016-06-22 that radar unit caused that problem (why was it OK for 5 years prior?!) but that unit was installed when I bought the car as CPO (Certified Pre Owned), and it was disconnected 2016-05-01 by Carlsen Porsche. If it was CPO and if it was indeed the problem, then why is it my cost and problem? At any rate it is supposed to be out of the system now, but only tracking all the wires can say for sure.

Is it really fixed and won’t strand me a 5th time soon? Why have 4 electronic failures occurred in 13 months plus a dead Interstate battery 15 months after install? Could it be something as simple as a bad alternator, or corroded wiring harness (replaced in entirety 4-5 years ago due to bizarre 2 mph front-end damage).

The cost is all on me if I want to have mechanic go through car and find root cause (e.g., labor cost to trace all wires and check out wild geese). Dealer says in effect that it’s my problem, and to call Porsche USA. Porsche USA says can’t do anything, dealer can submit a request for something. When I patronize a brand, I expect it to stand behind its products. Porsche USA repudiates that viewpoint (32 minutes on the phone got me nothing but “see dealer about it”). That is, the dealer 250 miles from home who has little if any incentive to want to get to the bottom of this comedy of expensive failures. Or I can drive it home 250 miles to my usual dealer (Carlsen Porsche) and they might go to bat for me—I don’t know. I can’t afford any new car of even a fraction of its build quality and capabilities, so I’m between a rock and hard place on this one.

Rock Creek Lake
unknown camera, unknown lens

[low-res image for bot]

Below, it’s a bit surprising to see ice melting this much this early at 10,100' elevation, but the heavy melt flow is surely speeding up the melting process. Years ago, I watched the rotten ice of Tioga Lake disappear in one day from very strong warm winds on June 24. One or two days like that, and this ice on Rock Creek Lake will break up into icebergs and then blow to one end of the lake, clearing the lake rapidly.

Rock Creek Lake
f2.8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 20; 2017-06-01 06:39:39
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 @ 57mm equiv (6.6mm)

[low-res image for bot]

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