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    1. Global Moderator MylesPH1's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 03:45 PM #1
      Their headlights.



      Iíve seen this a couple of times on local G-wagons, and wondered if it was a thing. According to what the police told one victim of stolen headlights, thieves from Oakland seem to specialize in this particular theft. The owner of the car pictured here also said they took the headlights without causing any damage.

      Quite thoughtful of them.

      Reminds me of the rash of thefts in the NYC metro area back in the early 2000ís, when B5 Audi S4ís were having their HID lights stolen - but usually damaging the car in the process.

      Anecdotally, Oakland seems to have some issues with thieves - a startling number of Chevy Z/28ís ending up on Copart as stolen and stripped were from the Bay Area. Shells left dumped on the streets with all the drivetrain and suspension gone.

      Happy holidays, guys, and remember - keep your headlights safe!

      Your LS motors, too..






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    3. Senior Member VadGTI's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 03:55 PM #2
      I bet they're taking them to facelift or repair salvaged cars. Gwagen owners seem to love to facelift the cheaper '02/'03 cars.

      I remember when the 2002 Maxima came out with OEM HIDs, leading to a rash of thefts and even class action lawsuits and a suit by the state of New Jersey.

      Then the CL/TL/RL came out with HIDs and the thieves went after it as well.







      [img]https://hips.hearstapps.com/hmg-prod/amv-prod-cad-assets/images/04q3/267420/in-new-jersey-they-steal-the-blue-from-your-eyes-photo-98886-s-original.jpg?fill=2:1&resize=980:*[/img]

      Quote Originally Posted by 2004 Car and Driver
      For years, New Jersey was called the "Garden State." No more. Now it's the "Hang On to Your Headlights" state.

      Thieves in the "Hang On" state are apparently on a mission to pry out the headlights of every 2002 and 2003 Nissan Maxima they can find parked in a dark spot. In Newark alone, 277 cases of blinded Maximas were recorded through February, and 756 thefts or attempted thefts from Maximas had been noted statewide.

      Fingers are pointing at the "fast and furious" crowd. They're trying to steal the blue they see in the eyes of some cars at night. The Maxima is only one of many recent models equipped with xenonóa.k.a. HID (high-intensity discharge)ólights, but this Nissan has three things making it especially attractive: It's easily identifiable, thanks to a body style introduced in 2002; it's relatively common, with sales of 185,260 cars in those two years; and best of all, the xenon lights were standard equipment. That means blue to go on every hit.

      Maximas aren't the only targets. Det. Daniel McAteer of the NYPD's Auto Crime Division mentions the Acura TL, the Audi S4, 2003-04 BMWs, and 2003-04 Nissan Altimas. Another source told me that leasing companies dropped the Altima in the N.Y.-N.J. area because of headlight theft.

      But back in Newark, Maximas are the favorite, according to Lt. David Letts of the Newark Police Department's Vehicle Theft Division. "It's extremely easy. They pry open the hood, breaking the latch. If an alarm goes off, they cut the battery cable or the alarm cable. After that it's brute force. The brackets are plastic. They pull the headlights from the brackets, just break 'em.

      "In 30 seconds to a minute, they're out," he told me.

      What's the point? I wondered. Over the past 10 or so years, headlights have become styling elements integrated into the overall shape of new cars. Maxima headlights won't fit any other car.

      "They don't want the housing itself," Letts said. "We find those on the street or in Dumpsters. They just want the bulbs and the special power pack. Then they can put the bulbs into any car."

      That doesn't sound right. The usual automotive halogen lights are incandescent and operate on 12 volts, but xenons are more like arc lights. They operate at very high voltages and temperatures. Moreover, the carefully shaped reflector requires the light source to be in a precise location. Otherwise, the focus will be wonky. Lighting engineers wouldn't design systems that allow those vastly different bulb technologies to be used interchangeably.

      To make sure I was right, I called John Remakis, marketing manager at Hella, the original-equipment supplier of xenon lights to Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. He said the xenon bulbs will "fit if you do enough cutting and modification." He'd heard of some that were stuck together with RTV.

      "You get a bright, scattered light. It's not better."

      I asked Lieutenant Letts if he saw cars cruising Newark's streets with lights bright enough to be suspicious. He said yes, but there was nothing the police could do because they couldn't prove that the modifications were stolen parts. The car owners could have bought OE parts over the Nissan counter, or at those of other brands. He said he had been watching for stolen headlights on eBay. "If the plastic brackets are broken, that's a good indication," he said. He'd seen some pictures that way on eBay, too. "Unfortunately, none were in New Jersey, so we couldn't move on them."

      The Nissan dealer near me quoted $549.78 for the "setup package" of one bulb and one ballast, and $277.93 for just the bulb. So the thieves grab $1100 in less than a minute. No further questions about motivation, Your Honor.

      Repairs run much higher, however. Replacing the housings, which the thieves never wanted in the first place, boosts the parts cost to about $1800. Repairing additional damage can run the total to $4000.

      For Newark's Letts, stolen headlights are merely "the current wave," replacing airbag modules in popularity with thieves. For years and years before that it was car stereos. When I lived in New York City, I often saw hand-lettered signs in the windows of parked cars; I still remember the exact wording of one that was taped in an Audi 5000: "No Radio of Any Kind InsideóAlready Stolen." One time I parked an Audi 5000 down by Wall Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon. When we came back about 20 minutes later, the passenger-side window was in crumbles and the stereo was gone, along with my companion's shopping bag tucked under the seat.

      You might say the Audi 5000 was the Maxima of the early '80s. Or maybe that honor goes to the Saab Turbo. One friend had stopped for dinner on a Sunday evening somewhere in northern New Jersey. When he came back to his car, he found that a junk Holley four-barrel carburetor had been thrown through a side window, and the stereo was gone. Another Turbo-driving friend parked in Manhattan. When the thieves hit that one, in their zeal to get everything that could possibly be an amplifier, they even took the engine-electronics brain that Saab mounted on the floor under a seat.

      "Midnight auto supply" has been a fact of life for, well, my first car lost its '57 Dodge flipper hubcaps in the student lot at Iowa State. Need I add, decades have gone by since hubcaps were worth prying off.

      But never mind this ancient fact of automobiling. Either the New Jersey attorney general just woke up, or his lawsuit against Nissan is one more lawyer scheme to shift blame away from the guilty and onto someone with deep pockets. "We allege the company sold cars with these fancy lights but kept consumers in the dark about how attractive the headlamps were to thieves," said Reni Erdos, N.J.'s consumer-affairs director. "Nissan's actions, or lack thereof, rendered consumers vulnerable to the criminals who targeted their vehicles."

      Nissan had grown concerned enough by September 2002 to offer a repair kit for wiring damage during theft. Three months later it produced a headlight anti-theft kit that could be installed by dealers for about $175. But it didn't offer the kit for free. And it didn't notify all N.J. owners of the crooks' lusts. Hence, the lawsuit.

      Actually, it did notify New Jersey Maxima owners, but not until November 2003. Apparently, the question before the court is this: How soon should a carmaker tell the world not to buy its cars?

      Another question occurs to me: Are we "over-lawyered" yet?
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    4. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 03:56 PM #3
      Meh this is still very common across makes, although not as bad as the early 2000s.




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    5. Member ch.davis's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 03:56 PM #4
      Probably to retrofit into the older g-wagens. Kind of ridiculous, because even older ones are still an expensive car and it's funny that owners of these cars are still insecure enough to upgrade to look like they're driving the new versions.

    6. 12-02-2019 04:26 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by ch.davis View Post
      Probably to retrofit into the older g-wagens. Kind of ridiculous, because even older ones are still an expensive car and it's funny that owners of these cars are still insecure enough to upgrade to look like they're driving the new versions.
      The new ones are so tacky looking compared to the older ones, people these days

    7. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 05:11 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by VadGTI View Post
      I bet they're taking them to facelift or repair salvaged cars. Gwagen owners seem to love to facelift the cheaper '02/'03 cars.
      bingo

    8. Senior Member Lwize's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 05:18 PM #7
      G-wagens are for 1%ers??

      Epstein is alive.

    9. 12-02-2019 05:25 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Lwize View Post
      G-wagens are for 1%ers??

      "I can't afford it on my 7-11 pay, therefore it's for the 1%ers!"

    10. Senior Member UncleJB's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 05:27 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Lwize View Post
      G-wagens are for 1%ers??

      and BHPH lot crawlers. There is no middle ground.

    11. Geriatric Member PJA's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 05:39 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Lwize View Post
      G-wagens are for 1%ers??

      A third of all G-wagen buyers have a median annual income over $1mil, so, I guess so? Who else would be buying them?

      Quote Originally Posted by elmo3 View Post
      "I can't afford it on my 7-11 pay, therefore it's for the 1%ers!"
      I don't know about 1%ers or 7/11 clerks, but I, ah, certainly can't afford a $130k G-wagen.

    12. Senior Member Cousin Eddie's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 05:51 PM #11
      It's TooFitToQuit!

      Stealing them for retrofits.

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      yes, i am bored by FWD driving dynamics, and anyone who doesn't drive there cars to the limits and the beyond.

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      12-02-2019 06:00 PM #12
      1% or not, are we just not going to say anything about the heinous tires?

    14. 12-02-2019 06:33 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by PJA View Post
      I don't know about 1%ers or 7/11 clerks, but I, ah, certainly can't afford a $130k G-wagen.
      Sure you can. Just choose to live in a $30K house.

    15. Global Moderator MylesPH1's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 06:35 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by nick soapdish View Post
      1% or not, are we just not going to say anything about the heinous tires?
      Well yeah out here youíve got people buying Gwagens who canít actually afford the upkeep. Nothing shocking about that, but people want to take the 1% remark literally, so
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    16. Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 06:37 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by PJA View Post
      A third of all G-wagen buyers have a median annual income over $1mil, so, I guess so? Who else would be buying them?
      A quick search says that a family income of about $421,926/year is needed to be in the 1% for the most recent data I could find. So if a third of all G-class buyers are over $1M I would say it's a sure thing that the majority of them are over $422k and thus 1%'ers.

    17. 12-02-2019 07:44 PM #16
      The 99% need to learn to code.

    18. Member Meroving1an's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 10:44 PM #17
      This makes me think...

      if a thief can somehow find entry into the frunk, it's ridiculously easy to remove the front headlamps in a 991.1.

    19. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 10:45 PM #18
      Gee

    20. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 11:15 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by elmo3 View Post
      The 99% need to learn to code.
      I can code. R, Python, heck, I can probably still play around with Cobol and Fortran.
      I just refuse to be part of the 1%. Y'all can remain locked in your cubicles, chained to your desks.

      That said, I do interact with people who dabble with coding these days, bioinformatics, and it amazes me how little the younguns know about the actual architecture.
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    21. Don't be me. Don't be a 'Rick' Cabin Pics's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 11:16 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by Meroving1an View Post
      This makes me think...

      if a thief can somehow find entry into the frunk, it's ridiculously easy to remove the front headlamps in a 991.1.
      Easy peasy

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      12-02-2019 11:28 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      I can code. R, Python, heck, I can probably still play around with Cobol and Fortran.
      I just refuse to be part of the 1%. Y'all can remain locked in your cubicles, chained to your desks.

      That said, I do interact with people who dabble with coding these days, bioinformatics, and it amazes me how little the younguns know about the actual architecture.
      I learned BASIC on my Apple IIGS back in the late 1980s dammit. Kids these days and their C++ and their cotran and forbol.
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    23. Senior Member VadGTI's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 11:41 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Meroving1an View Post
      This makes me think...

      if a thief can somehow find entry into the frunk, it's ridiculously easy to remove the front headlamps in a 991.1.
      Is it easier than on a 993? A twist of a lever and you can kiss those Litronics goodbye.



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      Do you want to be known as the guy who makes worse automotive decisions than VadGTI?

    24. Member Meroving1an's Avatar
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      12-02-2019 11:55 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by VadGTI View Post
      Is it easier than on a 993? A twist of a lever and you can kiss those Litronics goodbye.
      The lever is already there? Damn. At least in the 991 you have to use a tool that's in the toolkit. Same deal though: twist and it pops right out.

    25. Senior Member VadGTI's Avatar
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      12-03-2019 12:00 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Meroving1an View Post
      The lever is already there? Damn. At least in the 991 you have to use a tool that's in the toolkit. Same deal though: twist and it pops right out.
      Yep, built right in .
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jrod511 View Post
      If I could do one thing with a DeLorean it would be to give Vad's parents a condom.
      Quote Originally Posted by Sledge View Post
      Do you want to be known as the guy who makes worse automotive decisions than VadGTI?

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      12-03-2019 08:19 AM #25
      The 1% have been through so much already.
      They don't deserve this burden.
      How are they going to feel safe driving little Jaden, Cayden, and Brayden to boating practice?

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