While out driving testing the truck, and thinking about how I can't test the car because it's raining out and that will probably destroy the cardboard, I realized I could bring a spray bottle and squirt lines in the cardboard, making it easier to tear out if necessary. Also, I was definitely aware of the heat trick, I'd just prefer to avoid it...I hate sweating.
I'm definitely being careful with what I do to the car, for exactly the reasons you cited. I'm also being almost equally careful with the truck, because I can't afford to break it. I really need it to run and not cost repair money.
Thanks for the compliment. Let's hope I can do even better than I have.
I always make sure I get trucks with the towing package, even though I don't generally tow with them. I get the towing package for the tranny and oil coolers, and upgraded brakes. Tranny coolers help the transmissions last longer, and an oil cooler isn't a bad idea either. I like vehicles setup to maximize longevity, as I generally put at least 200,000 miles on a vehicle before I even consider replacing it. My 74 Chevy had over 300,000 miles on it when I sold it to my sister (And she drove it for a few more years after that!)
Ok, test-drove the VW. I tried everything to get the temp up and it didn't seem to have an effect. I EOC'd from 80mph (and figured once I turned the engine back on which would get the water pump flowing again, the previously stagnant coolant would be very hot after circulating for a few seconds). I ran 3rd all the way up to redline. Nothing.
I bought a Chinese knockoff ELM327 unit on eBay that doesn't work right and I was going to return it, but I forgot about it for awhile and it wouldn't be fair for me to demand the seller take it back now. It doesn't work with the GMC, and most software doesn't work with it, but I can get live data from the VW with it. I'll dig it up and use it to confirm the temperature gauge.