Posts By: Ur-Turn

By on April 14, 2014

Friend of TTAC Anand Ram writes about getting more than he bargained for at the Avis counter. There’s an explosive truth I want to share: We writers don’t make a lot of money. While you gather yourself from the recoil of that bullet, here’s another: It doesn’t really stop us from wanting nice things. Perhaps, […]

By on March 24, 2014

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TTAC reader Evan Reisner thinks that a small pickup is just the ticket for GM. But it’s not the one you may expect.

The prevailing wisdom on TTAC is that many Americans are interested in a compact pickup truck – but the same wisdom also suggests that such a truck would be bad for GM’s CAFE ratings. Market demand aside, CAFE is one of the reasons that Chrysler and Ford got out of the small truck game.

Yet few people know that The General has a product that can combine the best of both worlds. But they’ve chosen not to offer it in the USA.

(Read More…)

By on March 18, 2014

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TTAC reader and former auto journalist Michael Banovsky writes about the inexorable move towards autonomous cars

Autonomous cars are already here.

It doesn’t matter if you’re testing an actual Google Car or cruising the Keys in a Pagoda-roof 230 SL, CUVing the kids to Hot Yoga or signing “11″ on a deserted road. Autonomous cars are here, the debate is done, so enjoy driving while you still can.

Let’s start with a story.

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By on March 7, 2014

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Abraham Drimmer writes about moving from South Florida to Michigan in his Miata

“You need to sell your car”, my father told me, when I informed him of my imminent departure. I got the call in mid-October, I’d be leaving Miami for Ann Arbor on short notice. “That thing is going to be absolutely worthless in the snow”.

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By on February 25, 2014

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A TTAC reader is an engineer with a major powertrain company, and offered his extremely detailed analysis of the ZF 9-speed. Consider this an AP level course in powertrain engineering.

Before we dive right in to the 9-speed gearbox, let’s take a quick refresher on the basics of gears. The simplest gear set consists of 2 parallel gears mounted on 2 parallel shafts. Shown in Fig.1 is a gear set with a 20 tooth drive gear on the right and a 30 tooth driven gear on the left. For this gear set the speed of the driven gear is 1.5 times lower than the drive gear, and assuming no frictional losses anywhere, the torque on the driven gear is 1.5 times higher. This gear set has a ratio of 1.5:1. This type of a gear set is usually not favorable for packaging since it requires 2 parallel shafts, and there are largest separating forces that push the 2 gears apart which means that the bearings supporting the shafts have significant radial loads on them, in addition to an axial load if the gears are helical.

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By on February 18, 2014

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TTAC welcomes “Anonymous”, a former temp who worked in a Japanese transplant factory, as he presents his opinion on the effect of the UAW on the American auto industry and the significance of the Chattanooga vote.

Sit down with me, children, and let me tell you about some of the great things labor unions have done for this country. The forty-hour week, safer working conditions, the defeat of the Pinkerton “bulls”, and, well, that’s probably about it. Many of the advances credited to labor unions by people who never bothered to read a history book are actually due to legislation. That’s okay. History, as the man who once doubled the wages he paid his employees without the pressure of a union to make him do it said, is bunk.

Now let’s talk about what the UAW has done for American workers. It created the “job banks”, where people were paid to do nothing. It created the seniority system that paid people $100,000 a year to sweep floors while young people were mercilessly shuffled off into a low-wage “tier”. It ensured that every automobile built by its employees during a time when American automakers were in the fight of their lives came out of the factory at the highest possible labor cost while simultaneously offering the lowest possible quality, often because the cars were sabotaged by overpaid workers who were encouraged to despise their employer, their product, and their customer.

Not satisfied yet? Don’t forget the best part of all.
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By on February 10, 2014
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TTAC reader Dean Trombetta is back, giving an insider’s look at a widely reported but mis-understood story involving automotive plastics.

Last week, Aston Martin announced the recall of more than 17,000 vehicles for defective throttle pedals. The term “counterfeit plastic”, was frequently mentioned in the story, and for those not in the plastics business, the term may seem confusing. We usually associate the term “counterfeit” with consumer goods, specifically luxury items like watches, handbags and women’s accessories. Despite being in the plastics industry, I wasn’t sure what initial reports were referencing. But further research has shed some more light on the matter, and there seem to be two possible scenarios at play here.

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By on January 10, 2014

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This week’s Ur-Turn comes from David Ruggles, a noted industry figure, prolific TTAC commenter and author of the Autos and Economics blog.

In my 44 years in the auto industry there have been a couple of continuing themes I have observed.  First, there is never ending change.  Second, consumers are uncomfortable with the negotiating process required when buying a vehicle.  These days vendors to auto dealers are trying to sell dealers on the concept that “transparency” is the key to success in selling cars.

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By on January 2, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATTAC reader Dean Trombetta sent us an article on anti-freeze resistant nylon and its applications in the automotive world.

In early 2011, a class action lawsuit was filed against Porsche alleging that the company knowingly installed defective coolant pipes made of nylon into engines of Cayenne model SUV’s. Apparently, the pipes are very likely to fail prematurely resulting in serious engine damage. If the vehicle is out of warranty, customers end up spending big bucks to repair their engines and replace the coolant pipes. The replacement coolant pipes are made of aluminum. (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2013

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Today’s Ur-Turn comes from TTAC reader Mike Stanizewski, who writes about his experiences with his E46 winter beater. Mike says

“I wanted to write this article after reading some of the recent articles regarding German cars and their long term reliability. Some of the commenters in the Cayenne article were wondering out loud what happens to old German cars when they reach their third uncaring owners. Well here I am, the third uncaring owner, and I want to tell you what it’s like to drive an old, high-mileage German car through the winter months.”

I live in Michigan. In my off hours I buy and sell used cars through my friend’s dealership. This gets me access to used cars at good prices. Every winter I pick out one of these cars to drive during the winter months in order to keep the salt off my nicer car.
My goal is to find a car that’s not too old and not too beat. And very cheap to buy.

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By on November 15, 2013

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Today’s edition of Ur-Turn comes from Brian Driggs, a long-time TTAC reader, Mitsubishi fan and published of Gearbox Magazine, a digital enthusiast publication that we highly recommend.

As a North American Mitsubishi enthusiast, I often find the dismissive comments about the brand disappointing. While the US might be the second largest market on the planet (second to China, I suspect), it’s far from being the only market. I believe Mitsubishi is diversified enough they can afford to be more proactive with regard to automotive trends. News of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi partnership only supports that belief.
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By on November 14, 2013

D. Alexander is back with another reader review. If you’d like to be where he is — and I don’t mean flexing your maxed-out biceps in the company of a bunch of attractive people, as he’s always doing on Facebook, but rather on these hallowed pages — let me know! — JB Nothing makes you […]

By on November 3, 2013

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After noted Carrera Cup racer Sean Edwards was killed while instructing from the right seat, I wrote a piece on the incident for Road&Track. I also asked my friend Valerie Roedenbeck Maloof to contribute her thoughts here. Mrs. Maloof, whose work has also appeared in Porsche Panorama, is both a driver and the wife of a racer, so she has a unique and pertinent perspective on the risks of driving and instructing — JB

The sad news came on the morning after my husband and I had returned from a very enjoyable weekend at MidOhio, where we had spent three days driving with the Ohio Valley Region Porsche Club. Sean Edwards, 26, had died in a crash at Queensland Raceway in Australia. Edwards, a race car driver who was leading the Porsche Supercup and who was recognized as an all-around GT talent, perished while driver-coaching a 20-year-old aspiring race car driver.

His death stopped me in my tracks. We had just seen Sean at the Circuit of the Americas a few weeks prior, wished him good luck, and watched him drive the hell out of the MOMO Porsche, overcoming a variety of on-track challenges. He was by no means a close friend, but we respected him and admired his talent and racecraft. His friendly smile and admission that he was new to Instagram, but was enjoying it, haunted me.
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By on October 25, 2013

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Everybody please welcome Cory Crelan to these pages. He’s a TTAC reader who had the rather indefensible idea to buy a pair of Nissan Sentras… of course, they’re both SE-Rs. Check out his story and offer your feedback as to his future plans! — JB

About three years after I sold my 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R, I got a Facebook message from my friend Jim. He told me to call him right away. Jim is very active in the B13 (1991-94) Sentra SE-R community and works at a very busy repair shop outside of Hartford, CT. He currently owns four variations of the B13 cars between the SE-R and NX2000. When I called him, he had an interesting story to tell: A mutual friend of ours, Steve, got a job offer on the west coast and had ten days to uproot his family from Connecticut to Oregon. Steve happened to own four Nissans.

One of them was possibly the most well-known and documented SE-R in the country.
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By on October 23, 2013

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Please welcome Jeff Stork, who comes to us from The Brougham Society with this story of an auto show and a young GM district manager, along with some great pictures. Check out his blog and Facebook page! — JB

In January of 1988, I was in my first year as the Buick Milwaukee District Sales Manager, aka “Factory Rep,” a job that entailed many tasks. Although it was primarily about obtaining enough orders to keep the factory churning- which could be a real task in a Wisconsin winter- there were numerous special assignments, one being the Milwaukee Auto Show.
(Read More…)

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