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Posts By: Bozi Tatarevic
Last week, I noticed a new stain on the driveway in the spot where my wife parks our Saturn Vue Hybrid. A quick sniff test revealed it to be automatic transmission fluid and an inspection of the Vue showed a leak at the transmission pan gasket. The car has just crossed the 100,000 mile mark and the worn gasket decided to accelerate my plans for a transmission fluid change.
Like many modern cars, the transmission dipstick is absent on the Vue, so checking the level is not a quick task. Adding fluid is even more time consuming and requires removal and disassembly of multiple components just to get to the fill plug.
I went out and picked up a filter, gasket, and some ATF and decided to tackle the convoluted process of this transmission fluid change.
Tuners and researchers have searched for ways to pull data from cars and modify it ever since the introduction of the first on-board computer in the late 1960s. The advent of fuel injection and computer-controlled engines in the 1990s brought computerized tuning front and center. And while the OBD2 standard — made mandatory in 1996 —standardized the interface and made it easier to read diagnostics and log some parameters, modification and advanced logging was still complicated and expensive.
Professional tools and open source hardware popped up in the past decade to allow deeper access into a car’s electronics, but most ready-made products were still expensive. Open source variants also required knowledge of soldering and programming. Now, Macchina has taken the best of both worlds and packaged it into an inexpensive product that should prove useful for researchers as well as tuners. (Read More…)
The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse produces 1,200 horsepower from its tightly packed quad-turbocharged W16 engine. It is a modern marvel that takes four camshafts and 64 valves to move all the air needed to make this power, and it sure doesn’t come cheap.
An oil change for the Veyron costs slightly more than a new Fiesta ST and requires an engine disassembly due to the extremely tight tolerances. We aren’t likely to find a W16 for sale anytime soon and, even if one does pop up, it won’t go for less than six figures. Not to worry, as a company out of Michigan may have a much better solution — one that makes just as much power with half as many valves and no forced induction. (Read More…)
General Motors has issued an airbag recall for the long-gone Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. The recall relates to the passenger presence sensor (PPS), which may become damaged and cause the passenger airbag to not deploy during a crash.
We initially covered this issue in 2015 after noticing that complaints were piling up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and that the PPS design was similar to other models already recalled by GM. (Read More…)
The WRX passed the one year mark a few months ago and the odometer hasn’t stopped rolling. It’s been on a few road trips, a track day or two, and racked up another 12,000 miles since the last update in August. The new car smell might be fading, but it feels just as new as […]
The Impreza has been the oddball of the economy car bunch since its inception, so it’s fitting that Subaru launched the next-generation compact at the unique and peculiar Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California. The Pantai Inn features rooms decorated with Balinese art and other luxurious features, but those rooms lack some basics, such as digital TV reception and usable […]
Dodge dropped another Demon teaser today and many are theorizing that the license plate shown in the video might confirm all-wheel drive for the new high-performance car. The speculation is being fueled by confirmation that the Demon will wear the same size tire on all four corners, as well as a license plate displayed at the end of today’s teaser video.
The plate shows [email protected], which Car and Driver speculates to mean the Demon will produce 2,576 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm at each driven wheel. While that’s a fair assumption, I believe the plate tells us something entirely different.
General Motors loves to poke at its competitors, especially when it comes to trucks. We’re all familiar with its recent barrage of ads attacking Ford for using aluminum in the F-150’s bed, but another ad from 2009 may be coming back to bite them.
The ad in question made fun of a new feature that extended a step and handle from the tailgate of the F-150. Chevrolet didn’t have anything similar at the time, so it decided instead to make an ad mocking the step and making it seem like a feature for unmanly weaklings. Chevy resurrected a similar feature in the bumpers of some trucks a few years later, though a recent set of patents shows the automaker is almost replicating the step they ridiculed eight years ago. (Read More…)
The Subaru BRZ has been struggling along since hitting its sales peak in 2013, and its recent refresh hasn’t done much to help it rebound on the sales charts.
Now, thanks to conflicting information from Subaru itself, the future of the rear-drive coupe is as clear as San Francisco Bay at 7 a.m.
George Hotz has revived his Comma One self-driving technology project — sort of — after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shut down the commercial launch of his product earlier this year. Today, Hotz announced he would release the hardware schematics and code for the project for free to the public, targeting hobbyists and researchers.
The code is already up on the Comma.ai github repository, along with a detailed guide and schematics on how to assemble the hardware. Making the project open source and releasing it for free might get NHTSA off his back, so the only question now is how to monetize it in the future. (Read More…)
Faraday Future made a splash earlier this year with its FFZERO1 concept, but the shadowy, China-backed American automaker has lately been seen testing a camouflaged minivan-like vehicle that looks awfully similar to the Tesla Model X.
A recent patent publication reveals that the similarities don’t stop there, as Faraday Future is considering replicating many of the features found on the Model X. However, one detail could explain the mystery at the core of a teaser video Faraday Future released yesterday. (Read More…)
My wife and I visited the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago. Our plan was open-ended and started with a one-way ticket to Oakland and two nights at the Westin in Union Square. Since parking in San Francisco is expensive, we decided to forgo renting a car at the airport and took an Uber into the […]
George Hotz announced he was cancelling the Comma One project last week in response to an information request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At first glance, this might appear to be a bit of government overreach. However, once you start digging into the letter, it’s apparent the questions are reasonable and easy to answer.
The main goal of the questionnaire is to assess the safety of the Comma One device. NHTSA set a deadline of November 10th to receive the response or Hotz would risk a $21,000 a day fine. Hotz claims that the letter was threatening.
Lets look at the questions in detail and see how they break down.
George Hotz announced in a series of tweets that he’s cancelling the Comma One device that he promised to deliver before the end of the year.
The reason for the cancellation, as Hotz states, stems from an information request he received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Attached to one of Hotz’s tweets, the NHTSA document has a set of fifteen standard questions. Hotz responded to the questions by stating he would rather spend his life “building amazing tech than dealing with regulators and lawyers. It isn’t worth it.”
Nissan owners hoping for relief on a coolant issue that has been causing transmission failures on 2005-2010 Frontier, Pathfinder, and Xterra trucks will be disappointed to find out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed a petition to issue a recall. The petition filed by the North Carolina Consumers Council claimed that failures were possible in over 857,000 vehicles.
The Associated Press (via CNBC) reports that the NHTSA declined to investigate further, stating that the majority of the complaints didn’t describe a safety hazard and that further investigation is not warranted, given its “limited resources.”
That means over three-quarters of a million vehicles have ticking transmission time bombs, and the manufacturer’s half-hearted solution seems designed to help very few owners. (Read More…)