COAL Update: ’08 Hyundai Sonata GLS – The Recycled Gift


Our son’s 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS


Previously I detailed the detailing of the ’08 Hyundai Sonata that I gifted to my son. See the original COAL here. Mid August I gifted it to him a second time when he returned from study abroad. In this update I will take you through some final fixes, two road trips, random musings and his reactions.

Putting a stop to it: the brakes.

There was a pulsation and unevenness in the brakes. I pulled the rotors and had them resurfaced. These rotors and pads looked very new. I assume they were replaced shortly before I bought the car. Whoever put them on was not doing a thorough job. On the left rear one of the pads was stuck so bad it crumbled like cookie when I resorted to the pry bar. I expected the brand new pads to easily drop into place. But they did not. In fact they were so tight that they would not slip into the bracket. I could file some material off the pad‘s base plate or I could remove some coating material off the bracket. I did the latter. I assembled everything using lubricant at the proper places. Oh what a difference that made! These brakes are smooth! I am thinking that the factory did not take into account how much space the powder coating takes away.

Brake bleeder bottle makes it a one person’s job.

With the help of our other son I changed the 10 years old brake fluid. Unfortunately I managed to get air into the master cylinder and had trouble to get it all out at this session. I made a bleeder bottle so I could do it without a helper. It improved a lot but the ABS still activated for a second when the brake was slightly applied. The third time around I clamped off the brake hose and removed the bleeders in order to clean the tips of corrosion and to put Teflon tape on the threads. In addition I used a piece of 2×4 to stick under the steering wheel to keep the brake pedal down while closing the bleeders. It worked like a charm.

It occurred to me that the parking brake shoes will not get properly seated because the parking brakes are applied when the car is standing still. I used the parking brake a few times to slow the car down. Then the parking brake needed adjustment at the hubs and the lever which was easy enough.


Consequences of a missing rubber: a dead battery.

During the winter the battery drained a few times. I didn’t drive it that much and it was horribly cold. But still it shouldn’t have drained that fast. Then it happened two times in the spring. Something wasn’t right.

O’Reilly’s tested the battery twice with “GOOD” results. The clerk suggested googling for most common parasitic drains.

Gamle-ged posted on HYUNDAI-FORUMS.COM:

“….. When you lock the car, you should hear a single “beep” and you should see a single flash of the parking lights.

If you don’t get these indications when you remotely lock the car, your security system is unarmed and is continually TRYING to arm and this (for some reason) will drain a fully-charged battery overnight.

There are switches in each door and in the trunk and the engine compartment which must all be engaged, or the system can’t arm. The most common fault is the hood switch, where (on the passenger side) a rubber bumper mounted to the hood falls off [or becomes dimpled/depressed] and the switch below it isn’t made with the hood closed, gradually causing a battery drain…”

Guess what: there was no rubber bumper on the hood to operate the proximity switch. I rigged something up and it worked. The doors locked accompanied with the flash of the parking lights and when I push the button a second time the horn chirped and the lights flashed. A visit to the junk yard yielded an assortment of rubber bumpers free of charge.

But the “GOOD” battery was still draining. I was getting ready to chase down another parasitic draw and had the battery checked again for good measure. This time the verdict was “BAD”. The missing rubber stop killed the battery right after the warranty expired. O’Reilly’s replacement with 2 year warranty was $130. I told the clerk that Wal-Mart had one with a 5 year warranty for $100. He replied: “I have a Wal-Mart battery in my car too.” With the new Wal-Mart battery in place all electrical systems are fine.


Tracking traces: the steering rack.

While under the car working on the brakes I noticed power steering fluid leaking out of the rack on the driver side. Luckily I found a small shop who installed a re-manufactured rack and pinion for a very favorable price. The steering feels proper and the squishy sounds are gone. The mechanic told me that this rack had been worked on before and some bolts were missing. That leaves plenty room for speculation. Did the PO’s parking maneuvers involve lots of steering with the car standing still? Did someone replace the seals for her? Did someone (the place I bought the car from) replace the rack with a junk yard unit? Whatever, the sloppy previous repair is fixed now.

To my surprise the mechanic also mentioned that the engine was low on oil. I have to keep tabs on how much it uses and/or loses. He also noticed a ticking sound in the valve train. He advised me not to worry about it. “Just keep changing the oil every 3000 miles.”

Parked at the oldest house in Slater, Iowa

Dollars and cents: a numbers game.

You may wonder if it all still works out on the spreadsheet. It does. I like to keep the cost of the vehicle below $100 per month. That includes depreciation, maintenance and repairs. It excludes insurance, registration fees and fuel. I bought the car 39 months ago and I tallied up a total outlay of $6200. That means I need $2300 in resale value to meet the goal. That would be no problem what so ever.


Details that matter: the finishing touches.

Leaves in the blower fan make noise.

After changing the cabin air filter the blower made an unusual noise. I knew something must have dropped into the fan. Easy fix: remove 5 screws, pull the fan out and remove the offending objects. In this case they were two dried up leaves.

Before and after treatment.

Upon watching some Youtubes on auto detailing I put Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner to the stains on the seat and the headliner. It worked very well indeed as these before and after pictures show.

Seats after treatment.

Through E-bay I bought a used ash tray. Installing it was a matter of turning screws and pulling clips to remove the center console and the lower parts of the dash. It took me two hours. On the old tray the peg of the catch mechanism was broken off.


It’s not the journeys it’s the destinations: road trips.

Driving the Sonata was uneventful, lacking any drama whatsoever. We were cruising in a 10 year old car that ran without a hint of trouble and took us to some worthwhile destinations.

Shelter with a “floating roof”, Frank Lloyd Wright style.

In Dubuque, Iowa we were really impressed by the architecture at Eagle Point Park. The builders were obviously inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style and much of the construction was financed under the depression era‘s WPA (Works Project Administration). Read more here.

I found this footage of a walk through the park by Quarter Reel. He has added some eerie music for dramatic effect:


Chicago River

The other trip took us to Chicago. On the way there we stopped at Starved Rock State Park. We have never seen a State Park that was this busy! Here is a video by DJI:

On the return trip we stopped at Davenport, Ia.

Boys spotting the ferry on the east bank of the Mississippi.

“No ride for losers”: random musings.

Mrs. W has not changed her opinion one bit: she called the Sonata a non-descript car. I asked her to show me a “descript” car. “The red one we saw the other day” was her answer. That would be a Subaru BRZ, making for a great comparison, like Gala apples to passion fruit.

To me however the Sonata falls right in line with sedan designs that started with the NSU Ro 80 in 1967 and continued with the Audi 100 (5000), Ford Taurus and more recently Camry/Accord, thus spanning about 43 years (for 2011 the Sonata received a new design). It’s a nice highway runner with a spacious comfortable and quiet cabin and it’s easy on the fuel.  I could keep singing the praises of the Hyundai Sonata but the Amok Bros from Poland did a better job of that than I will ever do.

The Sonata – a chick magnet!? Facetious trolls they are! At least they poked their fun at the previous (4th) generation Sonata.


Better than fruitcake: a gift once more.

Mid-August our son returned from study abroad in Germany. We picked him up from the airport in the Sonata. The car was not the first thing on his mind. There were too many things of higher priority like moving into an apartment, the girlfriend, getting ready for school etc. A few days after handing him the keys I asked if he noticed any changes to the Sonata. He said the most significant thing was to actually be driving again after a year of using public transportation and walking. “By the way, how do you pronounce Hyundai?”

What’s that in the back ground?

He is not a man of many words. To gauge his reaction you have to look for a twinkle in his eyes, a change in demeanor. He does appreciate not only the car but all the other support we are providing. Regarding the Sonata: the carpet, the proper working ash tray and fuel door release put a bright smile on his face. A few days later he flashed a smile again and said: “Hey, the horn is working!”