LORD CADILLAC: You mentioned the XLR information was the way to go, but didn't know where to start... As a new XLR owner, this is the type of information I was looking for:
How many of my car were made? So, straight facts on production numbers would be a key. How many of each year, each color offered, each interior/exterior combo, etc.
04-05 XLR owners will want to know everything there is about the Headlight issue.
A list of every recall that was issued on each year
What are the common failure/problematic issues. What are tips of maintenance to help avoid any further issues.
What similarities does the XLR have with other vehs? We know it shares the same platform as the C6, but let's get specific. What exactly is the same and what appears to be but is not? What parts are interchangeable?
What are the tricks of the trade with this car? Meaning... hold this button and that button at the same time for 10 seconds and (x) will be reset.
What does XLR even stand for? (Is it.. eXperimental Luxury Roadster?)
What bolt pattern and offset are needed for aftermarket rims? How big of a rim can you go? How wide? How big of a tire can you stuff out back?
Horsepower... tell me how I can make more! What other options do we have other than D3 Performance? Do they own the market? What are all the basic bolt-on options? Who can tune these cars?[/QUOTE]
Nearly every question you pose has been answered in the various XLR forums. As you go through them, you'll see many of the same questions repeated because folks want a fast answer without doing any work themselves. Search is your friend. For any prospective owner I highly recommend reading EVERY online post before you purchase an XLR to make an informed decision. It's worth the time.
The only engine swap I've seen for an XLR was a guy who gutted one and converted it into a dragster. Then destroyed it. So while you may see wistful owners talking about an engine swapout, it's just that --talk. Modifying this car invites all kinds of functionality issues since the Northstar is so integrated with the rest of the vehicle's systems. It's not impossible, just technically impractical and not financially feasible for all but a very few. If you want more horsepower, buy an XLR-V; don't waste your time and money on a base model.
Basically, this car is too complex for the majority of DIY's. Without a Tech 2, you're pretty much stuck, unless you want to guess your way to a fix, and parts aren't cheap enough to do that.
Due to the low production volume, system integration, N* powerplant, mods are few, and experts are rare. The LS engines have a long history of mods, and gurus to create them. Not likely for the XLR. D3 is it if you want any serious changes. Few owners want to let someone with no experience on the XLR experiment with their vehicles. Would you?
I agree with your comment regarding demographics. Younger, less affluent buyers will snap these up, thinking they've gotten a great deal only to find out they can't afford the keep the vehicles maintained. Price of ownership is high --no matter what somone pays to get in. Headights and shocks are still $1k each.
There's an oft-repeated myth that dealers charge more, when in fact, you're getting someone who's been trained on the vehicle and know what they're doing (most of the time, --but not always.) Take this car to an independent garage and just see what happens if you think you're gonna save a buck. In most cases, you're going to pay for the mechanic's training-- on your car! Unless it's something simple like exhaust, brakes, or wheels it isn't worth the frustration and hassle. Buy a shop manual and you'll get an inkling of what I mean. An alternator replacement costs a small fortune and requires lifting the engine!
The numbers speak for themselves. Compare the number of XLR posts on this site to say, the '04 CTS-V. They post more in a week than the XLR section does in a year. And the XLR section will always have a higher question than answer rate.