Zac writes:Hi Sajeev,I have a confession to make. I may have lied on my last TrueDelta survey. I reported ‘No Repairs,’ but, while technically true, I have been struggling with a problem for a few months now. My 2011 Ford Taurus SHO has been my long distance cruiser for 99,000 miles now, often times pulling an eight-foot trailer full of bikes and gear to track days all over the Southeast. I installed an Airraid cold air intake, Corsa Cat-Back exhaust, and Stage 3 tune from Livernois Motorsports at 17,000 miles, and the car has run fantastic until about 4,000 miles ago.Accelerating at low RPM, part throttle, high gear, the car hesitates, “shudders,” or misfires until the transmission decides to downshift or I decide to mash the gas pedal. Midrange to high RPM, mid to full throttle, the car still takes off like a raped ape, but if you drive it like a grandma it just doesn’t do well at all. Obviously, the first thing I did was return the engine tune back to … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: SHO Me The Intercooler Condensation!
Long-time TTAC Commentator 86er writes:Hi Sajeev,Could Piston Slap furnish me with a be-all/end-all explanation about wheel offsets? The more I try to read up on it on the web, the more confused I get. I’m pretty clear that RWD (at least traditionally) went with the low-offset while the FWD revolution made high positive offsets the industry standard, at least in passenger cars.A few years back, I had purchased a set of winter tires on rims for my trusty ol’ 92 Vic and later after research found out that the rims were medium-offset that went on a 4×4 Ranger of similar years. I’ve heard that putting on a different-offset wheel can hurt steering/suspension parts like ball joints, but I’ve never seen it in black-and-white, so to speak.Sajeev answers:Let’s cover the basics of both wheel offset and backspacing: offset is the location of the mounting hub in relation to the center of the wheel’s barrel. This mounting hub … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: A Primer on Wheel Offset and Backspacing
James writes:Hi Sajeev,I’ve got a 2003 Impreza WRX (blob-eye) that’s covered 96,000 km now. I bought it two years ago from the original owner, who seemed to take very good care of the car (every receipt since new). The car has been almost faultless.About 4,000 km ago, at 92,000 km, the original clutch was clearly on its last legs. Under wide open throttle in 3rd gear, the clutch would slip and struggle to get power down. So off it went to a local WRX specialist to have the clutch replaced with a new kit: new pressure plate, machined flywheel and new Exedy OEM (standard, not heavy duty) replacement clutch.However, when I got the car back, it felt completely wrong.With the OEM clutch, you could roll and creep around the place smoothly when you took off using just the clutch. This new clutch makes a terrible shudder, and the front end vibrates pretty bad. The car does take off smoothly with throttle applied, but it won’t be very smooth if you catch the clutch … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: An Exedy-ous from Logical Clutching?
TTAC commentator dtremit writes:Hey Sajeev —Inspired by your recent Mazda3 Piston Slap, I thought I’d throw this question your way. Seems like something the B&B might have advice on.I have a 2005 Mazda6 that is a rather desirable used car…on paper. It is in excellent condition mechanically, and has fairly low miles for its age (about 78k). Single owner, and I have maintained it well, though I am not sure the mess of receipts in the glovebox counts as excellent documentation. I have a good set of Nokian snow tires for it on steel wheels, which would go along with it. It would make a good car for someone for quite some time to come.My problem is that it’s cosmetically a lot worse off; ten years in Boston is hard on a car. It has a ~3″ perforation in the front bumper, and both front and rear bumpers are quite well scratched. (Otherwise, the paint is in reasonably good shape, and there aren’t any major flaws that wouldn’t buff out.) … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: The Importance of A Craigslist 3-Ring Binder
TTAC commentator Patrickj writes:Sajeev, an update:My 2006 Ford Freestyle that started this series has been traded in after 184,000 miles. It’s replacement is a 2015 Subaru Legacy, so I guess I wasn’t scared off by the CVT.The reason for getting the Subaru is mostly because of the second A/C failure of the summer in the Freestyle, though it also needed four struts, assorted bushings, and a steering shaft (u-joints doing a weird stick-slip thing). CVT and engine have been been fine to the end, with only two transmission fluid changes.Sajeev answers:Patrick’s Freestyle was three years old in the first Piston Slap, starting the “Justy-fied” CVT postings. Are we getting old?And keep in mind his Freestyle had 75,000 miles back then. With 184,000 miles now, this CVT lived the relaxed life of a more-highway-than-city cruiser. So what does this update mean?Here are some takeaways:Transmission/transaxle fluid changes every … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Justy-fied Freestylin’ over CVTs (PART VI)
Jeff writes:Sajeev,Your “Panther Love” is so well known that it could be termed Legendary. But until your recent comments in “The Ultimate Commute” I did not realize you were also a Fox Body Mustang owner. Definitely my lack of perception and close reading or your articles!I recently purchased a Fox Mustang: a 93 Hatchback LX with the 2.3 4 cylinder engine. I knew that if I bought a 5.0 I would get many Speeding Tickets & also be tempted to Race.I would much appreciate it, if you could provide an update on your own Fox Body experience.ThanxSajeev answers:I always wonder if I’m sharing too much about myself on Piston Slap, aside from the narcissistic rants about Panthers or whatever else the B&B gets me worked on. It’s all good, but shit Son, I don’t even own a Panther! And no, my Fox-ination has little to do with the Fox Mustang. But it all started on December 31st, 1986.That’s the day my parents took delivery of a 1983 … [Read more...] about Super Piston Slap: Poser Perceptions vs. A Fox Reality
M.D.K. writes:Good Afternoon. This will be my third query to this column, the first being an ill advised plan to put my wife in an old Mercedes hatched in an Afghan Bunker, the Second being for our Afghan Trailblazer that wouldn’t run. The Benz never materialized (thankfully) and the Trailblazer was made to run reasonably well with a fuel filter and removal of the clogged catalytic converter (The EPA man wasn’t coming to Bagram). Sadly about a week after we got the Trailblazer running they collected it in an effort to go to an all diesel fleet. It was replaced with a TaTa pickup.This actually pertains to a vehicle in my own fleet, my wife appliance grade 2007 Hyundai Tucson. It is a 2WD 2.0 4 cylinder automatic that has begrudgingly earned my respect for the fact that it has gone about its 94,000+ miles with the timing belt and seized tie rods courtesy of upstate NY winters being its only dealer trips. Tires, Oil, Gas, and brake pads … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Taking Control of Torque Steer?
TTAC Commentator MWebbRambler writes:Sajeev,Your recent Piston Slap on HID lights reminded me of a problem I had with replacing tail lights on my wife’s 2009 Traverse. One of the OEM bulbs burned out, so I decided to replace both brake/tail lights with LEDs.The LED lights worked great and were brighter than the OEM bulbs, but there was just one problem–the turn signals would blink rapidly, just like they did with the burned out bulb. After I went back and RTFM I learned the rapid blinking or “hyper-flashing” occurs when a bulb is burned out OR the system is drawing little to no current. Since the LEDs use a lot less power, the system thinks the bulb is burned out.A quick check online indicates my only option for the Traverse is to install a load resistor kit, which requires splicing the wires and adding a load resistor to each bulb. The process looks easy enough, but seeing how you are a lighting aficionado and a wizard when it comes to all things … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Traversing the World of LED Retrofit Bulbs!
Jon writes:Sajeev,I read this column on lighting, thanks for the information! That leads me to a question…What is up with Chevy/GM truck and SUV reverse lights!?!?!?! Why do they come on when their drivers use their lock remotes?????It is crazy going through parking lots these days with all the SUV reverse lights coming on for no good reason. Help me understand please.Sajeev answers:Reversing lights, just like headlights, can be used for anything when parked. And headlights also remain lit on these vehicles, which has been a safety feature since at least the mid 1970s. Knowledge Drop time!Peep the rheostat (Off, Max Delay) on the automatic headlight system below. There was about a minute (max) of headlight safety for a dimly lit parking space. Considering how many dimly lit streets there are at night, even in urban areas…considering how many 1970s cop shows had some seriously heavy shit go down in a dark parking garage, you better believe your … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Reverse Light My Way Home, General Motors!
TTAC commentator Raincoaster writes:Hi Sajeev,I currently drive a 2011 Honda Fit(Manual) and I’m mildly interested in a CVT for my next car purchase. I have never driven one, and one thing that gives me pause is all the “fake gears” that they set them up with. I understand that this is to make them drive in a manner familiar to traditional automatic transmissions, but this seems unnecessary and possibly inefficient to me. Are there any cars/companies that don’t fake it and just let the engine/trans cook up the best ratio at any given time? I’d like to test drive something like that to see how it feels.A second and 2 part question. I work a 40 day on, 40 off shift and while working, my car (2011 Fit) sits. Is this bad and is there anything I should do for preparation or upon first start up? This also got me wondering about cars on dealer lots, do they periodically start sitting inventory?-RaincoasterSajeev answers:A 40-day stagnation period has … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Avoiding Brutal CVT Step Gears?