Category: Piston Slap

By on April 14, 2016

1997-mercury-grand-marquis-8

TTAC commentator VolandoBajo writes:

Sajeev, my worthy and esteemed fellow Panther defender,

I acquired my ’97 Mercury Grand Marquis LS about six months ago and have enjoyed everything about it. I’m hoping to find a good source for a dual exhaust that doesn’t cost more than the book value of the car, and to convince my wife that the mileage increase will pay for the mod over time.

But my present problem is baseline fuel economy. I see repeated references to a 20 miles per gallon highway figure, but I can only manage 17 mpg at the best of times.

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By on April 12, 2016

2012 Lexus ES350, Engine, 3.5L V6, Image: © 2012 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

TTAC regular PrincipalDan writes:

Sajeev,

With the price of gas dropping to levels not seen in many moons, a thought occurred to me: Many of us are driving around in an average vehicle that has an engine used by another vehicle advertised as having more horsepower and recommending premium fuel.

For example: Toyota’s 3.5-liter V6 powers the Camry and ES350, but the Toyota’s tests with 87 octane fuel while Lexus tests with 91 octane fuel.

Do the manufactures actually bother using different engine programing in these various vehicles? Or is greater horsepower just a premium fill-up away for those with lowlier vehicles with premium antecedents?

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By on April 5, 2016

allfordmustangsdotcom

Jeff writes:

Sajeev:

I have a question that I don’t believe you have answered before in your talking about design features, and that is the weird obsession car makers have with exhaust outlets.

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By on April 1, 2016

1988 Mercury Cougar

Sajeev writes:

It’s ironic that as the initial Jaguar story neared publication, I ordered an aftermarket part to complete the (somewhat) light restoration of my 1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7. I mentioned getting “a factory part when buying the aftermarket brand” and nobody had a problem with this assessment.

But you won’t believe what happens next in this shameful attempt at clickbait…   Read More >

By on March 31, 2016

volkswagen-jetta-tdi-clean-diesel-event-no-better-time-to-buy-large-3

Stephen writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’ve toyed with the idea of turbocharging a 2.sl0w just for giggles and TORQUE, but the quest has to make some sense economically, or else the finance minister will not approve. Then it hit me: just how LOW in price have those older dirty diesels gone, anyway? You know, the ones with that lovely 236 pounds-feet of torque.

In other words, can I just get the torque without the spending abyss and busting my knuckles? Small data-set wise, four-cylinder manual Jettas with 64,000 miles average a diesel premium of only $675. At that consideration point, say 2010-ish Jetta, there is no economy for the project and I could jump right into the lovely torque.

So my question to you, on behalf of Torque Lovers Everywhere: is it time to pounce on diesel?

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By on March 29, 2016

Volkswagen Passat Wagon (B5GP), Image: Wikimedia Commons

Peter writes:

Sajeev,

My daily driver is a 2004 Volkswagen Passat Wagon 1.8T M/T, purchased new, now with 147,000 miles on the clock. Despite the legends about the poor reliability of this vehicle, it’s been good to me. (By this point, they had worked out both the sludge and coil pack problems.)

My concern is its handling: when this vehicle was released, it pretty much took all the COTY awards … Car and Driver, Edmunds, even Consumer Reports had it as their top pick for years until the coil pack problems became clear. The reviews for the thing all talked about how great it handled.

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By on March 24, 2016

2000-2002 Toyota Tundra, Image: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

TTAC Commentator ScarecrowRepair writes:

I live on a private road that’s 3/4-mile paved and 1/2-mile dirt. Myself and a couple of others on this road park our cars at a wide spot in the paved section and use a high-stepping 4×4 pickup for the short ride between the parking spot and our homes, primarily because the steep dirt road alternates between an inch of dust in the summer and a couple of feet of snow in the winter, with slippery clay mud in between.

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By on March 22, 2016

jaguar-S-Type, Image: Jaguar

John writes:

I recently had a local shop confirm the need for O2 sensors in my Jaguar S-Type. With 97,000 miles on them, it seems very likely they need replacement, and the mechanic wants to install factory sensors at the cost of some $650 for the parts. I can purchase Denso or Bosch from the local parts store for less than $200. As these parts were originally designed to last at least 80,000 miles (Federal warranty requirement), I figure that replacements from any reputable source will last quite a long time.

What is your opinion as to brand specific parts versus more generic replacement parts?

I suspect the original supplier was actually Bosch anyway so in my mind they are the same.

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By on March 17, 2016

2016 Mazda6, Image: Mazda USA

H.E. writes:

Sajeev,

I recently bought a 2016 Mazda6 Touring. The salesman gave me a crazed look when I told him it absolutely had to have a six-speed manual transmission. But the dealer managed to find two manual Mazda6s within about 300 miles, one of which was 45 minutes away and painted in Deep Crystal Blue paint with the black interior I wanted. I’ve put about 400 miles on it and it’s a great looking, smooth shifting car; I’m very happy.

I expect to get flamed because it isn’t brown, diesel or a wagon, to which I respond in my best Sean Connery voice, “Suck it, Trebek!”

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By on March 15, 2016

2013 BMW X1

Anonymous writes:

Hi Sajeev,

As a long-time reader of Piston Slap and TTAC, I never thought I’d be writing for advice. You see, I usually buy new or manufacturer-certified cars with warranties and loaners and all the benefits that the extra money affords. Surely, any problems would be handled lovingly and without hassle by the dealer and maker. Mostly that’s been the case, but not this time …

Read More >

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