Category: Piston Slap

By on September 28, 2016

Sajeev's Mystery Machine, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

Every “How To” automotive series pushes the aftermarket hard for free stuff, even under-the-radar journos like Zach Bowman and Regular Car Reviews find themselves with free/discounted goodies. I’ve done product reviews in TTAC’s past, so this isn’t a Baruthian hit piece on journalistic greed. Heck, Bowman generously donated his pre-sponsorship clutch for TTAC’s Ford Sierra (more on that much later) and Mr. Regular seems like a righteous enough dude.

So instead, think of my work as the alternative to PowerBlock TV. What work is this, you may ask?

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By on September 27, 2016

2009 Honda Civic EX Sedan, Image: American Honda

Yaw A writes:

Sajeev,

Second time caller, long time fan. I have a 2009 Civic EX five-speed sedan I bought about 18 months ago and am hoping to drive into dust. I bought it instead of the Si because the EX gets slightly better gas mileage, uses regular gas instead of premium, and isn’t as … extreme?

Yet, naturally, I threw all the EX’s comfort out the window and let my inner ricer take over.

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By on September 20, 2016

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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.

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By on September 13, 2016

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Luis writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I live in Texas where we’ve had terrible rain and hail storms. My daily driver is a 2004 Acura RSX Type-S with 111,000 miles on the clock. I purchased it second hand last year after driving my last car for ten years. A ’99 Civic coupe (178k miles, which I still own but leave parked). Anyway, the Acura incurred at least $7,000 in hail damage, mostly on the roof, hood and trunk, and minor damage on the sides. My question is: should I keep it? It runs great and has never been modded or in an accident. The insurance will pay off the balance of my loan (about $6,200) and make it even-Steven, or they will pay around $6,000 (which is the value minus the assumed auction price of $1,100) to the bank and I will have to pay the $1,100 balance and be able to keep it. Either way, it will make it a “total loss”. The adjuster said it will not be branded on the title as salvage but will be deemed a total loss that will show up on a Carfax. Making full coverage is not an option. Read More >

By on September 9, 2016

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TTAC Commentator Kurt_B writes:

Hi TTAC. I’m a long time reader and member. My four-year-old Mustang hood is peeling. Ford does not cover this issue outside of the three-year comprehensive warranty, and even when repaints are authorized they don’t last. This is a very common issue that has to do with poor paint adhesion to aluminum. I’m pretty sure we’re going to see peeling 2015+ F150s in a few years with their aluminum panels.

For Sajeev: A lot of owners buy aftermarket fiberglass hoods (Cervini, etc). Others have their factory hoods repainted, which may or may not last. One shop I went to suggested vinyl-wrapping the hood — something I really don’t want to do to a four-year-old car. Read More >

By on August 25, 2016

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TTAC commentator SavageATL writes:

I have a 1991 Cadillac Brougham, the old rear-wheel-drive model. The car was sitting for a long time, and it has a Chevy 305 with bad valve seals. Lesson: beware of low-low-mileage cars.

It smokes badly on startup after sitting and burns a good bit of oil — about one quart every 250 miles. I’ve driven it as-is for a while, but the day is coming when I’ll need to do something about it.

I was told that the heads would need to be replaced to the tune of about $800. I am thinking for that kind of money I can go ahead and swap out the 305 for an LS. I was quoted about $2,750 for a 5.3-liter junkyard LS swap and $3,750 for a 6.0-liter junkyard LS swap, start to finish.

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By on August 16, 2016

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Earl writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I want to get my wife a used SUV. We tried a Volvo wagon, but it’s just too unreliable. My first choice is a 4Runner, but the prices here are insane, even for 10-15 year old ‘Runners. I’ve noticed I can buy a Cayenne or an X5 for similar prices to the aforementioned 4Runner, and that’s with fewer miles and years newer.

So, what gives?

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By on August 9, 2016

1967 impala 05

TTAC Commentator Land Ark writes:

Hello again, Sajeev!

I’ve been wondering about tire pressure for a while. I changed the wheels and tires on my car which originally came with 14-inch wheels and high profile bias-ply tires. The new tires are 255/40/18.

How do I account for the drastically different sizes when it comes to determining the correct air pressure I should run in the new tires? Read More >

By on August 2, 2016

1999 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 4x4, Image: GM Heritage Center

Josh writes:

Around fall of last year, my girlfriend and I learned we were going to have a baby. I already have two girls and she has three boys. With the existing brood, we were already traveling places in convoy as her Nissan Maxima and my Honda Accord Coupe V6 could not fit everyone together. We threw our money together to get a third vehicle that could carry the entire family and our future baby.

After much research on my end and exploring all other alternatives, we concluded that we wanted a good ol’ Chevy Suburban. It has plenty of room for all of us, can be had relatively cheap, it’s simple enough to troubleshoot and work on, yet will be pretty handy for future home improvement projects.

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By on July 26, 2016

Autocross Ranger, Image: TheRangerStation.com

Matt writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’m anticipating that my 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon, with 210,000 miles on the clock, will need replacing soon. I’m lucky in that my wagon is a five-speed manual with the 2.2 EJ motor, so it has been fairly bullet proof. I’ve been looking around at affordable commuter five-door hatchbacks (Mazda3, Impreza, Focus, etc) to replace the Legacy as the replacement needs to be able to fit multiple kids and sports gear, as well as be my daily driver (~45 miles roundtrip work commute).

Here is my question: I would like something a little sporty as more than half of my commute is on fun, twisty, back roads.

Read More >

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