Category: Piston Slap

By on October 26, 2015

Robin writes:

Sajeev, here is a possible line of discussion: ethanol fuel. It’s hard to find straight gasoline now and impossible in the more populous counties of Texas. E15 is around the corner. My old D21 is still running strong at over 200K (previously discussed here and here —SM) but I fear that adding E15 might be the kiss of death for its early ’90s system.

Additives, alternatives and a point of discussion? Read More >

By on October 15, 2015

BT writes:

Why aren’t we seeing diesel/electric hybrid cars and light duty trucks? Wouldn’t the fuel economy be phenomenal? Gas hybrids do well in their own right, as do diesels. So what’s holding up the diesel/electric Passat? Many cities have gone to diesel/electric buses for fuel savings, so we know the technology is real for passenger vehicles. Is the combined torque simply too much for mere mortals to use responsibly?

What gives, Sajeev?

Read More >

By on October 13, 2015

Stefan writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I am the last person who would want to be even peripherally involved in you losing your job or impeding that great Lincoln rebuild. I am a loyal reader of TTAC and “slavishly” read your column.

My Subie is just touching 120,000 miles. It has been a really great, reliable ride and I fortunately have a good dealer and private mechanic for the routine issues that pop up.

I want to keep the car as long as possible. I do oil changes and the roughly 60,000 mile recommended scheduled service on time. The engine sounds good, has good (for a Subie) pick-up, averages 20 to 23 miles per gallon, and still has a tight body. I anticipate the need for new shocks at some point soon and a muffler/cat replacement. Read More >

By on October 8, 2015

RX-8 in Cass, picture courtesy of Michael Karesh

TTAC Commentator NotAPreppie writes:

Hey Sajeev … or Sanjeev … I’m not feeling picky,

Am I insane for considering buying the same Mazda RX-8 twice? Alternate title: A car so nice I want to buy it twice. (Thanks for that – SM)

Backstory: Three years ago, I sold my daily driver and autocross car (2005 Mazda RX-8 Sport) to a car club buddy when living and going to school near downtown Chicago meant that it sat in a parking garage for months on end (physical chemistry was intense). I graduated and got a job a year ago and bought a new autocross toy: a 1995 Miata, now with 70k miles.

The Miata has turned out to be something of a mongrel. Anywhere fluids can leak, they have. Not having a garage to wrench on the car myself, it’s nickel-and-diming me to death. Also, I’ve discovered that while it’s a Great Car™ during the 60 seconds of an average autocross run, it’s pretty awful to live with day to day. Maybe if I didn’t live in a major metropolitan area, I’d see the appeal of a soft top. To add insult to injury, I think it aggravates my sciatica.

Read More >

By on October 6, 2015


Oh yessss!!! (photo courtesy:

Nicholas writes:

A friend recently acquired the carcass (very deliberate choice of words) of a Bugeye Sprite. We were discussing what engine might go into it, and I was thinking that the turbo three-cylinder Ecotec would be a light but sufficiently powerful choice. However, I know very little about what is involved in turning an engine 90 degrees to run the rear wheels.

Read More >

By on October 1, 2015

Mark writes:


Thanks for the recent advice on winter tires & wheels for my new Focus ST. I took delivery of the car two weeks ago and I’m having a blast. The first thing I did when I got it home was take Bark M’s advice and sign up for the Octane Academy.

So here’s another question: What’s your take on fuel octane and the ST?

Read More >

By on September 29, 2015

2011 Scion tC

TTAC Commentator Sam Hell Jr. writes:

Hi, Sajeev!

I read with deep concern your notice that the Piston Slap mailbag was empty. You kindly answered my previous query about putting more conservative tires on my ’11 automatic tC (now at 51,000 miles), despite the fact that I erroneously addressed the email to your parasitic e-twin Sanjeev, and I’m happy to pester you/be of service once more. Please find, below, my questions, and thank you for your time.

Read More >

By on September 24, 2015


Transparency in Motorsport… (photo courtesy: Murilee Martin)

Stephen writes:


A friend and I want to get into LeMons racing, but neither of us has much cash to throw at a hooptie or experience working on cars. I’ve changed oil, tires, lights, and brake pads but done little else.

Read More >

By on September 16, 2015


Not a Taurus reference. (photo courtesy:

Jeff writes:

All righty, Mr. Sajeev, I have four vehicles in the driveway: 2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail Premium (wife’s ride), 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (teenage son’s ride), 2004 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4X4 (my POV) and 2015 Ford Police Interceptor Utility (my company car). Three weeks ago, I arose at my normal 6 am, let the pups out and started a pot of coffee. Shortly after, the dogs are going nuts, so I open front door to investigate. I’m greeted by my neighbor’s 1000 pound steer literally on the front porch. No big deal. We live in a very rural area and I was raised with big animals. I grab a handy dog leash and smack the big boy across the nose fully expecting him to turn and run so I could herd him the 1/4 mile back to the neighbors.

No such luck. Read More >

By on September 14, 2015


(photo courtesy:

My apologies if this comes off as a pimpatorial for Faurecia, but this question deserved to go unedited. – SM

Bryan writes:

My 300 Luxury Series has wood interior accents that shine like cabinetry with a little Liquid Gold. Worried that I might be harming them, I tried to determine the correct product for that wood. Little did I know that the wood is paper-thin and bonded to a substrate in a molding process that uses resin and compression. Faurecia SA is Chrysler’s interior supplier, and they make interiors for many other companies too (see their Pinterest page). Read More >

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