On Monday, I had the unfortunate experience of walking up to my 2000 Honda Logo TS GA3, trying to open my driver's side door, and the handle snapping on me. It was time for me to go visit the dealership. And I have to say, it was a very nice experience.
I went to the dealership closest to my school. There is, no doubt, a closer dealership to my apartment, but it just made sense to go to the one about ten minutes from my school. The first thing I noticed about the Honda dealership (and the Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, and Daihatsu dealerships nearby) was how tiny it was. Honestly, most people go to dealerships to order new cars, not really to drive them off the lot. There were a few available, but mostly they were display models. Even used dealerships are fairly small in Japan.
The next thing I noticed was how attentive the staff was. They didn't even wait for me to finish parking before someone was outside, next to the parking space, ready to help me. I explained the issue, and also mentioned that I had had a similar issue with the rear left handle as well (that one having completely snapped off). I said I was very happy with all of the mechanical parts of the vehicle, but that cosmetically, it needed some work. The saleswoman took me inside sat me down at my own little table and offered me a drink. Snacks are also available for longer wait times, apparently. I found the dealership pretty much empty.
After maybe ten minutes or so, a Honda tech came out and apologised: the driver's handle assembly was in stock, but it would need to be shipped from a warehouse. It would not arrive until Friday, could I come back after school? Yes, of course. Unfortunately, the rear left handle assembly was entirely out of stock, and had been for years. The Logo was neither particularly popular and it is a 14 year old car. He suggested I look online for an assembly and bring it back. He actually recommended I do this for both handles, as it would save money. The dealership would just do the installation. Unfortunately, as a commuter, I just couldn't wait on the driver's side.
On Friday, I came in, the same woman met me, and I handed over my slip. Again she directed me to the same table and got me a drink. However, she apologised profusely in keigo (an ultra polite form of Japanese), because unlike Monday, the place was packed. She wasn't sure they could get me out before seven—it was 4:30. I said it wasn't a big deal, I had my bag with stuff. I studied Kanji for about an hour and a half, and they managed to finish by 6:00.
I had a nice chat with the Honda Tech about my Recaros and about my plans to sort of remake the GA into something resembling a miniature 99-00 era EK Type R. He said that the staff in general was intrigued by the vehicle and by what I had done to it, and given how hard procuring parts are, they would for a very minimal fee, be happy to install any parts I found. This is especially important because my front passenger side door is completely shot. The tech said the dealership would install the new door, for example, for about $20, if I brought one in. Or really anything else, for that matter.
So in preparation for replacing parts, I spent today (because yes, it was already Saturday in Japan, it's been Sunday for almost three hours) cleaning up the GA. Now, I haven't actually washed the darn thing since the last time I took pictures, and that was only the first time I'd ever washed it. Of course, I started with the interior, so I got rid of all the trash, put stuff in the hatch, vacuumed, and wiped down/polished all of the plastic interior pieces. The Recaros are starting to get a bit dirty, but they should probably be taken out and steam cleaned, and I think I'll wait until after winter to do that.
Once I was finished with the interior, I cleaned up the engine bay:
Now, I know, normally, you want to do a hand wash, but with it being winter practically (yet today was really really warm!) I had very little sunlight, so I took it to a gas station about a block away and had it machine washed. I figured, with the paint job already in such terrible condition, the immediate effects of it washing the car would be worth whatever incremental paint damage many such washes could do over time. I then drove home and used some towels to dry the car and search for any missed spots.
After that, I finally reattached two parts of the vehicle. I used epoxy to reattach the broken at the joints rear left door handle. I have no idea if it can actually be used yet, but it seems solidly attached. I did it more for cosmetic reasons than function, because almost no one uses that door anyway (I rarely have passengers, and almost never more than two), and getting into it was already a pain. At least now, until I can track down a used assembly, it looks like this:
I also got some thin black professional type double sided adhesive and reattached the rear right door visor, so that's done:
Then, I set to work on the headlights. These things yellow and fog up pretty badly within months, but I have some stuff that brings them right back again in just a few minutes of work. If you look back up at the engine picture, you can see how yellow and foggy they looked. Then I waxed the car, washed the wheels and, and took out my nice magic marker and went around the vehicle making some really faded parts like the windshield wiper arms BLAAAAACK </mightycarmods>.
The result of just the one coat of wax was pretty immediate. A lot of scratches I thought were really deep disappeared. Unfortunately, I think think a couple of panels will still need to be replaced. The front left door, definitely, the left fender, probably, and the hood most likely. Good news, these things will run about $40-$100 each according to my mad internet skills. I can even find them in my same silver color. In any case, the car should be repainted. There are so many spots on the vehicle where the owner before the previous owner to me decided he would just, you know, use silver spray paint, because sure. Can't wax yourself out of a shitty paint job.
In any case, here are the results:
No comments about it being an automatic, please. This has been explained over and over and beaten quite to death.
Images via Honda Japan and Kat Callahan/Jalopnik.