Category: Piston Slap

By on February 21, 2017

Harman HALOsonic Engine Order Cancellation

Craig writes:

Hey Sanjeev, (*facepalm* –SM)

I have a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, and I’m bit of a music buff. One of the first things I dispensed with was the factory Harman Kardon speakers. I replaced the sub with a JL stealth box. Now I have a pretty big problem with the factory stereo and its the automatic noise cancellation.

When the transmission is in normal D mode and or eco mode is on, it uses the factory stereo to cancel out the drone of the engine. Unfortunately, the noise cancellation is calibrated for the weaksauce factory sub. Now it sounds like one of those bass CDs from the ’90s as I hold speed or decelerate. I’ve asked the dealer how to get rid of this thing, to which they said “you can’t.”

I’m not so convinced.

Any ideas?

Read More >

By on February 14, 2017

Aston Martin and Mustang, Image: www.dailycarblog.com

Bill writes:

I am considering adding a fourth car to my family fleet, and I’m seriously weighing the options between a new Ford Mustang GT coupe with a manual or a 2005-2008 (or so) Aston Martin DB9. This would be a car I would drive around 3,000 miles per year.

In anticipation of your first questions, my other cars are a 2004 Honda S2000 AP2, which I plan to keep forever, a 2013 VW Touareg VR6 and an utterly original 1991 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL (W 126) with just 113k miles. I can afford, within reason, higher ownership costs associated with a luxury GT as long as the engine doesn’t have to come out of the car for service (like seemingly every Ferrari before the 360).

It looks like a DB9 coupe with under 30,000 miles can be had for around $45k or so. I’d love to find a manual gearbox but they are rare.

Please give me three good reasons why I should run to my local Ford dealer and find a ‘Stang. Or not. Thank you! Read More >

By on February 7, 2017

Kia Sportage IIHS Roof Crush Test

James writes:

Sajeev,

I’m a TTAC reader and longtime poster on LincolnsOnine. My question is: why has outward visibility gotten so much worse over the past two decades?

I’ve been driving Panthers for more than 20 years (’87 Town Car, ’89 TC, ’97 TC, ’04 TC, and now a ’08 MGM), and the visibility out of them is fantastic.

However, my wife has a 2011 Buick Lacrosse. Although we really like the car, there are several times where both of us have almost hit someone or something by the huge obstruction of the A-pillar. I’ve noticed this in other newer cars I’ve driven as well. Am I missing something?

James

Read More >

By on January 31, 2017

Lexus LS430 Aftermarket Navigation Screen, Image: kyoei-usa.com

TTAC Commentator Waftabletorque writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I’m having an issue diagnosing a navigation system problem on my 2002 LS430. I’ve gone a few years with the GPS link not working, which means it no longer receives a satellite signal and defaults to dead-reckoning mode (the GPS symbol disappears on the touchscreen). It’s a nuisance issue but it’s low on my priorities.

It also happens that I’ve been using a dashcam for the last four years. I never linked the two together until I had a couple of dashcams go bad in 2016, and spent the whole summer without one. Well, my GPS started working again, and I chalked it up to a warm summer fixing some sort of electrical wiring fault in the antenna.

Once I got my fourth dashcam in September, I noticed my GPS stopped working again. It was getting cold in the mornings and I thought my good luck spell had ended. Then, it occurred to me that maybe the GPS gets disabled when the 12V was in use. I’ve since found that it’s true for all three of my 12-volt ports (cigarette lighter, arm rest, rear seat cigarette lighter).

None of my other electrical loads (seat heaters, defrosters, seat massagers, headlights, fridge, etc) seem to trigger this issue, and I replaced the car battery in 2013.

So, what’s my next step? Is this a grounding issue? Voltage issue? A conspiracy of aftermarket electronics deliberately disabling automotive functionality? Read More >

By on January 24, 2017

car breakdown (dagnyg/Flickr)

Brian writes:

Hi there — I’ve been doing a lot of research (Googling) as of late to truly understand car reliability. I’ve been reading through sites like Carcomplaints.com, Truedelta.com, Consumer Reports, JD Power, specific car model forums, etc. What I really want to is, how accurate is this information? For example, you can look on Car Complaints and see that some models have awful reliability, but then you dig into it and realize it’s only five reported incidences of the same problem. And then you look at other websites that barely mention this particular problem.

So what gives? Even if it is a major problem, what are the chances you would end it up with it if you bought that particular model and year? Read More >

By on January 16, 2017

1983 Lincoln Continental Valentino Header Panel, Image: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

My supply of reader-submitted Piston Slap queries is running low! So in the coming weeks, please help re-fill the coffers. Just about anything goes! (Purchase queries go to Ask Bark.)

Email [email protected]com lest I spend the rest of my days updating everyone on my passion project, a Fox-body 1983 Continental Valentino restomod.

While you brainstorm your questions, let’s discuss headlight upgrades — because there’s a right and wrong way!  Read More >

By on January 10, 2017

2016 Lincoln MKT painted wheel, Image: Lincolnsouthcoast.com

Austin writes:

Sajeev,

So, a while ago I asked Bark and community what to replace my broken Audi‎ wagon with. I ended up purchasing a 2010 Lincoln MKT Ecoboost. So far, it has meet all my needs and — more importantly — my expectations, with one minor but irritating issue. At speeds around 70 mph and up, I notice a constant “twitch” in the steering on some highway surfaces — a sensation of vibrating left and right just enough to be noticeable, but not enough to change the actual t‎rajectory of the car.

Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

candytangerineptcruiser

Longtime TTAC Commentator Nate writes:

Hello Sajeev,

An acquaintance bought a PT Cruiser new in 2002 and did some minor customizing, drove the crap out of it for a few years, then the transmission failed. Apparently, they “all do that.” So here’s the deal: I was out scavenging vintage (’77~’85) Mercedes parts and ran across a rolled and totaled 2008 PT Cruiser: can its transmission be used in his 2002 model ?

He seems to think that 2002 is a one-year-only deal. He’s disabled and on a tight budget, says the car is worthless even though it’s pristine, but he’d like to fix it if possible. Unfortunately. rebuilding the current transmission is not in his budget.

Any thoughts or comments would be helpful, but no, I won’t be doing a tranny swap on this cute little car. Read More >

By on December 27, 2016

focus_occs1_01

Mark writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve had my 2015 Focus ST for 15 months and 14,000 trouble-free miles so far, and I’m really enjoying the car. The car is still 100 percent stock, but I’ll likely contact Torrie for a tune before long.

As much as I like the car, I’m really alarmed to read about the intake valve “gunk” issues with Ecoboost and other direct-injection engines. It seems as if DI engines have a real problem that the manufacturers really aren’t willing to acknowledge or address (if it even can be addressed).

What’s your opinion on oil separators and/or catch cans? Are they a good preventive measure, or should I just resign myself to funding a cleaning via walnut shells or other similar clean-up tactics when gas mileage starts to dip, power drops, or misfires develop?

Read More >

By on December 20, 2016

TTAC regular David Holzman writes:

My brother and several of my friends are wondering what to do about their TDIs. There are probably hundreds of thousands more like them! Some issues with keeping them:

  1. Will they actually be forced to clean up the emissions? (I think this may depend on which state they’re in, but I’m not sure.)
  2. How much will the fix affect gas mileage and performance?
  3. Will the fix be a PITA after it’s installed? If so, how so?
  4. After all the above is considered, what’s the cost/benefit of keeping the TDI vs taking the money and getting a new car?
  5. Is there any reason not to simply wait and see how the fix works out and not rushing to take the buy out?

For my brother, sportiness is not a priority, but having a wagon is. As is reliability and having a very similar car so that his wife, who does not adapt easily to different cars and drives the TDI exclusively, will be happy. But I think VW has discontinued Jetta wagons, and the latest generation of Golf (which has a wagon) gets lousy marks for reliability from CR. In particular, they consider some fuel system problems to be “fairly serious.”

All the best,
David

Read More >

By on December 13, 2016

1995 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC HID headlights, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars]

George writes:

What can I do about the low-beam headlights on my 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC? Does anybody make replacement parts for this car?

Please help!

Read More >

By on December 6, 2016

New York City's Department of Transportation fleet of Toyota Prius, Manhattan, NYC., Image: By Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Peter writes:

I drive a 2010 Toyota Prius. From top to bottom, I’m thoroughly impressed by the technology in this car. And yet this engineering marvel is so easily disabled by its inferior owner leaving a dome light on overnight and draining the 12V battery.

Is there any technical reason cars allow the 12V battery to be drained down beyond the point where the car will start? Who needs that extra 6 hours of dome lighting?

Read More >

By on November 29, 2016

1998 Toyota Sienna XLE Front 3/4, Image: Toyota

TTAC commenter MatadorX writes:

Sajeev, I wonder if you wouldn’t be able to offer some of your wisdom on the continuing saga of the van.

The new automatic went in and worked perfectly. The engine got fully rebuilt. New crate short block direct from Toyota, heads rebuilt-surfaced/valve job/adjusted/stem seals. Entire engine re-gasketed with Toyota FIPG/OEM gaskets. New pretty much everything else on the front of the car. Wires, plugs, all three O2 sensors (Denso), IAC, Coolant Temp sensor, MAF, resealed injectors, OEM fuel filter. Brand new main TWC catalytic converter. Converted both the exhaust manifolds to 1998 Sienna California emissions spec (integrated warm-up cats), so now the car has a total of THREE catalytic converters.

Broke in the entire setup for 1,000 miles the proper way with varying RPMs, letting off gas to allow rings to seat, and occasional three-quarter throttle bursts, special break in oil for the first 500, then over to Mobil1. Tons of power, smooth, quiet. At idle she is so smooth you can’t even tell the van is on. Checked the entirety of the engine for vacuum leaks — nothing. Compression is strong across the board. Zero blow by.

However, I live in California, and — you guessed it — the van still failed the smog check. Read More >

By on November 25, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI white

Scott writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve got a two-year-old 2015 Golf with a scarred rear bumper after an encounter with a stone wall (lesson learned — use the mirrors to complement the fuzzy nighttime camera image). Two repair estimates for refinishing the bumper cover average $525.00. The damage is down low behind the rear wheel and I can live with the gouge, for now.

However, I’m wondering about being gouged later when I inevitably decide to trade the car in (probably a few years). My question is: Fix it now, fix it before I sell the car, or don’t worry about it and roll the dice on what a dealer will ding me at trade-in time? Read More >

By on November 15, 2016

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

Kirk writes:

Sajeev,

I asked Bark for advice a few months ago and this question is somewhat related: I’m now planning to get a Miata or maybe the Fiat 124. I live at 5,000 feet above sea level and from what I’ve read, it sounds like the average naturally aspirated engine loses 3 percent of its power for every 1,000 ft increase in elevation, which translates to a 15 percent power loss at 5,000 ft. However, it appears that turbo engines do not suffer as much, as they lose about 1.5 percent power per 1,000 ft on average due to the less dense air. (i.e. more dense with forced induction – SM)

If that is the case, than I expect it would be better for me to get a turbo engine — provided I’m okay with the Fiat. Read More >

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States