Category: Ur-Turn

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.

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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 March 2, 2014

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Reader Daniel Latini is a car guy and has a baby on the way. He’s looking for your advice on a new ride that can carry around his family.

My wife is one of those generally temperate souls who has a few firecrackers strewn about her personality. New challenges can spark a little friction in any couple, and something popped when we saw the ultrasound pictures of our still-developing first child.

Her current steed, a middle-aged Korean compact hatch, lost a lot of luster that day. I’m sure the B&B will pelt me with shop manuals for trading a car with less than 100,000 miles, but I think there are some sound reasons to consider an upgrade.

We’re young, clueless and enthusiastic – click the jump and join us as we begin the misadventure of finding our first family hauler!

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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 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 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 November 15, 2013

 

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This review comes from reader Nicholas Naylor, who rented a Seat Altea XL for a recent trip to Spain.

My wife and I attended a wedding in southern Spain recently, along with another couple who are close friends of ours. We’re all taller than average, and being that we’re attending a wedding, the luggage load was heavy. So my idea of renting something small and Euro chic was out of the question; it had to be a wagon. Enter the Seat Altea XL.

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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

Luke, also known as “pharmer” here at TTAC, has a story to tell about his ’94 Camaro. Give him a warm welcome! — JB

Let’s get something straight before we even get into this little story: I don’t live in a trailer, rock a mullet, work the swing shift at Burger King, or street race on the weekends. These are the ugly stereotypes applied to owners of Camaros and Firebirds, and they are not fair, true, or particularly funny. Nevertheless, I have heard these stereotypes thrown out as jokes from a lot of different people, and I am none of them.

I am, however, in a long term relationship with a 1994 Camaro Z28.
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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.
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By on September 23, 2013

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Back in 2009 I wrote a blog about buying a Z4M on a whim. Four years later, I’ve made another impulse buy. Prior to moving to Seattle last summer my wife and I downsized our car stable and I purchased an $8k E39 530 as my daily driver.  Given how expensive Seattle can be I didn’t want a big car payment until we got our new housing budget in check.  Finding a new place took less time than expected, and soon enough, I started the research process to lease a new vehicle for my 50 minute commute.

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By on September 11, 2013

From our very own “Crabspirits” comes this mid-week breaking of the fiction rules. As Anita Baker once sang, “Rules were made to be broken,” but I think of Crabspirits’ work as something beyond fiction. Myth, perhaps — JB

Marty’s world was in the process of deflagration.

The bowsprit of the ’41 Plymouth knifed through the hot summer air as it cruised down Highway 275. “It’s a real scorcher today, huh?”, asked Marty nervously as he popped open the cowl vent. The gals in the back seat remained silent, knowing they were to blame. The little scoop in front of the windshield provided little ventilation of the cabin in the face of such oppressive solar radiation. A woman’s hairstyle must be preserved at all costs. The cabin portholes shall be configured in such a manner as to not direct airflow upon the hair. Gus slyly slouched in the front seat, and contorted his body so he could deftly reach for the window crank. Marty saw it out of the corner of his eye and cracked a wry smile. Gus had his window ever so slowly rolled down to the mostly open mark when his action was noticed. “Stoppppp!”, yelled Beth, hitting him from behind with her purse.

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