The Truth About Cars » axle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:58:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » axle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Ain’t Skeered of no Blown Stang! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-aint-skeered-blown-stang/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-aint-skeered-blown-stang/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:41:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=880890 TTAC commentator 1trikpny writes: Hi, I’ve got a 2005 Mustang GT Deluxe,5spd, no Leather, no options. Black with 18″ chrome wheels, 285/35 Sumitomo HRT-Z 3’s, I’m the second adult owner.The previous owner bought it new, and at 40,000 miles installed a Saleen Supercharger with a Brenspeed Stage 3 tune. 500 hp at the crank. Currently at […]

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frpcustoms

photo courtesy: frpcustoms.com

TTAC commentator 1trikpny writes:

Hi, I’ve got a 2005 Mustang GT Deluxe,5spd, no Leather, no options. Black with 18″ chrome wheels, 285/35 Sumitomo HRT-Z 3’s, I’m the second adult owner.The previous owner bought it new, and at 40,000 miles installed a Saleen Supercharger with a Brenspeed Stage 3 tune. 500 hp at the crank. Currently at 63000 miles. I’ve added BMR LCA’s, Relocation brackets, and Panhard bar. this car has been very well maintained all of it’s life. No smoke, no noises, everything is just right.

So what’s the problem?

I can’t help thinking about breakage, so I’m thinking of selling it. I really like this car, and don’t even drive it hard, but I am well aware that stuff happens. Although money is not an issue, any I put into repairs would be gone as far as resale. Right now the car is worth every penny I paid, including the BMR stuff.

I won’t replace it if I sell, but I would certainly miss it. It always puts a smile on my face!

What do you and the B&B think? Am I just worrying too much? I do that naturally………

Thank you in advance for thoughtful comment,

Sajeev answers:

Ah, the classic “is this relationship too good to be true?” question posed by many a tuned automobile owner.  A scary proposition if this was a modified WRX with an unknown owner history, but somewhat benign with an adult-owned supercharged Mustang. Let’s find out why!

Assuming the computer recalibration is set for a healthy balance (in the air/fuel ratio) between component safety and dyno-pleasing power figures, there’s little to worry about.  Continue to drive like an adult on premium fuel and the engine should be fine, as supercharging Ford V8s is far from complicated or dangerous. It’s been that way for years. Ditto the solid rear axle: Ford’s 8.8 is robust, even the Camaro boys love them.

The only concern is the transmission.  While a stock Mustang gearbox is good for an impressive 360 ft-lbs, you could easily destroy it with hard launches/power shifting/regular application of full throttle on a supercharged Mustang.  But money fixes everything. Rather cheaply in a Mustang compared to other tuned machines, I might add!

The point: you are indeed worrying too much. Enjoy the “adult driven” Mustang and find a worrisome issue that’s worthy of your time.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

 

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Piston Slap: 4Runner to A New Life? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-4runner-to-a-new-life-one-last-trip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-4runner-to-a-new-life-one-last-trip/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:49:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873921   TTAC Commentator Ralph Schpoilschport writes: Hi Sajeev, Got a quick one for you and only asking because you begged!  But.  I am preparing to make a 3000 mile one-way trip from beautiful Vermontto, well, not so beautiful southern CA.  My rig is a 1997 Toyota 4Runner (V6, 5 speed manual).  Known problems: leaking rear diff (rust cracks) […]

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Driveway Smudge

TTAC Commentator Ralph Schpoilschport writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Got a quick one for you and only asking because you begged!  But.  I am preparing to make a 3000 mile one-way trip from beautiful Vermontto, well, not so beautiful southern CA.  My rig is a 1997 Toyota 4Runner (V6, 5 speed manual).  Known problems: leaking rear diff (rust cracks) and a muffler on its last leg.  Spark plugs, starter, timing belt and water pump are recent repairs/maintenance.  As I type, an attempt is being made to seal the rear diff.  If that is successful I am having the mechanic give the chassis a once-over.

If the inspection is clear or things are easily fixed I am planning on making the trip with this car.  I figure the car is worth approx $2500 – 3000 as it sits.  Am I nuts?

Other options:

  • Rent a car one way.  Haven’t looked but figure this to be well over $1000.
  • Trade the rig in.  Nice leases for Rav 4’s going on right now.  Not sure how the bank would feel about my plan esp. considering I am leaving my job of 9 years for a new one in SoCA.
  • Buy a newer used vehicle.  This doesn’t seem like a good idea.  If I were to do this I’d rather do it in CA than here (rust).

Sajeev answers:

You aren’t exactly taking a trip:  moving to California, needing something to move your stuff is more of a life-changing moment.

  • Renting is out of the question: sell the 4Runner instead, then take a plane and ship all your stuff instead.
  • You are averse to getting a new car, which is acceptable in your position.
  • Getting another used vehicle is both buying someone else’s problems and asking to lose more money on two trade-ins in the near future instead of one.

Honestly, you need this thing to make one last road trip. Sounds like the motor is fine, and hopefully there’s a decent band-aid fix for the axle. If not, just swap the axle with a junkyard unit to give peace of mind and increase resale value.

My biggest concern is the tires: if they are worn and/or 5+ years old, they might not survive that much highway cruising.  And odds are the spare isn’t in better shape!  So get new tires for the same reasons you’d replace the axle. Ditto other rubber items you’ve overlooked (belts, hoses, vacuum lines, etc) but could explode on the trip.  Because your 4Runner (or any Toyota from that era, for that matter)  is a hot commodity in any market, especially California.  New rubber and a non-rusty axle speeds up the sale and adds value. You’re not gonna waste your money here.

Best of luck in your new career AND your new digs. Do the basics and the 4Runner will do just fine.

Who knows, you might just keep it!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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Piston Slap: The Express’ New Mission? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-2/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:12:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866114 TTAC commentator Celebrity 208 writes: Sajeev, I have been sitting on this draft message for a couple weeks now and I just saw your call for questions so here you go. I just bought a ’05 (Chevrolet) Express 3500 12 Passenger Van with 185kmi. It was owned by a Catholic Mission College where they maintained […]

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(photo courtesy: http://www.truckinweb.com/features/1304tr_2006_chevy_express_3500/)

TTAC commentator Celebrity 208 writes:

Sajeev,

I have been sitting on this draft message for a couple weeks now and I just saw your call for questions so here you go. I just bought a ’05 (Chevrolet) Express 3500 12 Passenger Van with 185kmi. It was owned by a Catholic Mission College where they maintained it as part of their van fleet and the maint. history is pretty clean. It was a good deal even if I have to do something dramatic like replace the transmission.

I’m going to use it for towing a boat (w/ trailer it’s 6500+lbs and the runs are ~15mi round trip), delivering kegs to Pamela Elsinore’s birthday party (“at the bottom of the big hill”), hauling visiting family and friends around when visiting (I live in DC which is a vacation destination for some weird reason), and likely Christmas road trips back to Cleveland because my mother goes hog wild with large Little Tikes stuff.

I have seen some of the B&B suggest that renting would be the best solution for these needs but, rental trucks/vans 1) don’t have the towing capacity, 2) usually explicitly forbid towing, 3) aren’t fitted with hitches & 4) are not always available on a whim/at my convenience.

To be sure I don’t use it a lot and hence that’s why I bought one that is 9yrs old and hi mileage. If I wanted new then renting might have met the bill for everything minus towing. At this point you should be laughing. Don’t. This is a step up for me as it is replacing my rusty ’88 G30 Sport van which had 78kmi, or 178kmi, or278kmi, or… (No 100,000 mile digit in the odometer). The ’88 G30 was a beater. It towed ok but it looked like crap and couldn’t be used as a backup daily driver b/c there’s no place to put two+ car seats whereas the ’05 does. The new one has the LQ4 6.0L v8 and the 4L80e trans. So, to my questions:

  1. When I finally get it home what service do you suggest I perform (oil change, trans fluid change etc., timing chain replacement, shocks, 3+ cans of sea foam, etc.)?
  2. What are your and the B&B’s opinions on towing and loaded and unloaded ride performance improvements such as: rear sway bar [this makes sense to me and it's on my to-do list], Roadmaster Active Suspension [this product seems like a gimmick], air suspension kits [I understand how these would increase my load capacity but unless I remove a leaf spring I can't see an air kit improving my unloaded ride quality and allowing me to raise or lower the rear end i.e. adjust the spring rate]?
  3. What are your an the B&B’s opinions on slippery ramp performance improvements such as replacing the open diff with a locker or limited slip [what type? ARB Air, OX Mech, Limited Slip, eLocker, etc.]?

I’m a GM guy but props to the Panther love and props to the site. You guys kick ass. You’re a multiple times a day refresh for me. You keep it up and I’ll keep clicking on some of the ads.

Thanks,

Celebrity208
(Note: I’m not really a narcissist; a Celebrity 208 cc was my first boat.)

Sajeev answers:

Thanks for the kind words, I always admire and appreciate the diverse backgrounds, attitudes, styles, etc of our Best and Brightest.  It’s been the cornerstone of this site’s longevity for more years than I can remember. No doubt, your new van is light years ahead of the old G30, and having a two-time Chevy vanner such as yourself amongst our ranks…well, it’s an honor.

Definitely someone like you should never rent a van, this is the perfect spare vehicle for your lifestyle.

Question 1: Changing all fluids (and the usual worn rubber belts, hoses, vacuum lines, tires, etc) is a great idea, even if we’ve spilled a ton of digital ink over the utility of high mileage ATF service in any transmission.  If the fluid is fresh and the transmission shifts fine, don’t bother changing.  Even if it has a factory tranny cooler, consider putting the biggest aftermarket cooler instead: certainly not a pleasant task, but it’ll be worth it.

Question 2: That Roadmaster kit always intrigued me, just never enough to buy and try.  Definitely get a rear swaybar if that’s an easy swap using junkyard bits from another GM product.  But honestly, all you need are fresh shocks of the high performance variety to get an amazing bang for the buck.  Oh, and replace whatever else in the suspension is worn out after all those miles.  Your eyeballs and basic tools are your guide.

Question 3: There are superior limited slip differentials from the aftermarket, but they are brutally difficult (or expensive) to install.  Why go through all that when–with a little researching–I betcha there’s a complete GM axle assembly in the junkyard with fewer miles and a posi that you can swap in an afternoon?  That said, I couldn’t find a suitable swap candidate, but what the hell do I know?  I’m a Lincoln-Mercury Fanboi.

Perhaps a suitable axle lies in a nearby junkyard, complete with a rear swaybar?  And perhaps addressing the normal wear items and switching to premium shocks will make this van cool enough for even the most jaded reader ’round these parts.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: New CV Boots? A Split Decision! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-new-cv-boots-a-split-decision/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-new-cv-boots-a-split-decision/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:53:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860313 TTAC Commentator Detroit Iron writes: Long time no talk (I sound like a native American an Indian).  (Yeah, not so much. – SM) I have an 09 Outback with ~65k miles.  I had noticed a bit of a burning smell after running it for a while and it was pretty strong after a recent trip.  […]

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TTAC Commentator Detroit Iron writes:

Long time no talk (I sound like a native American an Indian).  (Yeah, not so much. – SM)

I have an 09 Outback with ~65k miles.  I had noticed a bit of a burning smell after running it for a while and it was pretty strong after a recent trip.  I thought it smelled like a belt slipping but when I popped the hood the two belts looked fine.  After looking around for a minute I realized that the passenger side CV boot had torn and was dripping grease on to the cat.  Checking the other side revealed that the driver’s side boot was also torn.  Apparently this is a pretty common failure for scoobies.  The Internet says I should be concerned if I hear a “popping” sound or the clunk associated with failing bearings.  Luckily I am hearing neither.  The dealer had a set price of $370 per boot for replacing the boots that the service manager somewhat disconcertingly blurted out almost before I finished describing the problem.  The independent shop thought they could do both for less than $500 if the axles weren’t bad, but if they were bad then it would be another $450 per.

My question is this:  Can I just get split boots from JC Whitney and pack them with grease or do I really need to have the pros fix it?

Sajeev answers:

The split boots are probably a great idea, Dorman makes good stuff for old cars when the OEMs can or will not. That said, I’ve never used split boots on my rides as I roll RWD only.  But here’s the real problem: armchair analysis.

  • Do you think road dirt/debris lodged inside the boot will eventually eat the axle bearings?
  • Do you have any doubts to that question?
  • Is that your final answer?

Only you can answer that and decide what’s worth your time/money.  The $20-something for split boots is a cheap fix that’ll probably work, as you mentioned the axles are neither clunking nor popping: now try it from a standstill with the steering wheel turned at full lock (i.e. full left AND full right) and listen for the clunk.

If that test works out, well, go ahead and use the split boots.  They will probably extend the life of the axle long enough to justify their expense.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Piston Slap: Weather The Storm, Trooper! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/piston-slap-weather-the-storm-trooper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/piston-slap-weather-the-storm-trooper/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 12:03:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=814746 Alex writes: Hi Sajeev, I have recently come into possession of a 1994 Isuzu Trooper (pictured above). 158k, One owner, with good service history until 100k. After that the (affluent) previous owner basically used it as a Home Depot Hauler for 7+ years so besides oil changes and tires, not much was done. That’s fine […]

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Alex writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have recently come into possession of a 1994 Isuzu Trooper (pictured above). 158k, One owner, with good service history until 100k. After that the (affluent) previous owner basically used it as a Home Depot Hauler for 7+ years so besides oil changes and tires, not much was done. That’s fine by me as the truck cost $1600 and it is pretty great running shape.

However, I have noticed a few things that may need attention, or are just plain bothering me. Unfortunately Isuzu forums are pretty sparse due to the waning popularity of these trucks…if you can help me out that would be wonderful.

1. The timing belt was done once at 60k and its gone 98k on it. I heard somewhere the Isuzu timing belt maintenance was switched to every 100k? I think this is a non interference engine, do you think I can squeeze 120k out of the timing belt?

2. I think the Trooper is on the original clutch (Previous owner things he may have changed it but doesn’t remember and doesn’t have documentation. The clutch feels fine however.

3. The trooper has a squeal that is heard when driving slowly (heard when near walls since the sound bounces.) This squeal is heard even when brakes are not pressed. My father in law jacked up the car from the rear and it seems that when the rear wheels turn, there is a rotational squeal every half turn or so. It seems to be coming from the area where the drive shaft meets the rear differential, right after the U-joint. If I go faster than 10 mph you cant hear it, but you can hear it when driving slowly. Maybe some tired seals or something caught in mechanical? Doesn’t affect drive-ability at all.

4. Ripped CV boot in the front driver side. Can i drive it till it starts to creak or is it worth replacing with a Quick-Boot split CV boot from autozone?

Sajeev answers:

Troopers are far from my forte, but perhaps you’ll trade it in for a Crown Vic we can give such a cool and obscure ride a group hug via this esteemed column.

So let’s do it, to it:

  1. A thread from Planet Isuzoo suggests your 6VD1 3.2 SOHC V6 (correct?) is not an interference motor. Probably. But if there’s any doubt, there is no doubt: at your mileage, the Trooper’s had two timing belt changes and the next one is coming up soon. Soon-ish. Can you extend the service intervals?  Is it worth the risk? Don’t be a tight wad: FIX IT as per owner’s manual recommendation.**
  2. Clutches aren’t like timing chains: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, son!
  3. Squeals are usually the realm of slipping belts. This sounds like a “squeak” from a bad bearing. If it isn’t an easy fix, get a replacement assembly from a junkyard with a warranty.  It’s easier to swap axles than diagnose an internal problem. Especially if you aren’t rear axle savvy, don’t learn this particular trade on your own ride.
  4. I’ve never used quick boots before, the big concern is that a CV joint with a ripped boot already has grease contaminated with dirt.  Perhaps the quick boot (when installed correctly) can dramatically increase the life of the CV joint.  Or, if you bought it with a ripped boot, perhaps not. Only you can make an educated guess here, best of luck with that.

**Or sell it and buy the Ford/Chevy SUV equivalent and enjoy a bulletproof timing chain and easy repairs for the rest of your life.

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom: 

This is a good time to mention that owning such an obscure machine means one must, absolutely must, own a set of factory shop manuals.  Hell, I bought the FoMoCo ones for my British Ford Sierra before it even landed in the Lone Star State. Even though it’s kinda like a Merkur XR4Ti, it’s different enough to justify the cost of buying the proper manual.

 

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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General Motors Puts Stop-Sale & Recall On Chevrolet Cruze Due To Axle Failure [W/ Full Text] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/general-motors-puts-stop-sale-recall-on-chevrolet-cruze-due-to-axle-failure-w-full-text/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/general-motors-puts-stop-sale-recall-on-chevrolet-cruze-due-to-axle-failure-w-full-text/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 20:24:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=785465 Last weekend, Chevrolet issued a stop-sale 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze equipped with the 1.4L turbo-four with no initial reason for the action. A stop-sale is an order given by a manufacturer to dealers to cease the sales of a specific model of car to repair a problem. It can be anything from minor quality issues, up […]

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2014-Chevrolet-CruzeRS-010-medium
Last weekend, Chevrolet issued a stop-sale 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze equipped with the 1.4L turbo-four with no initial reason for the action. A stop-sale is an order given by a manufacturer to dealers to cease the sales of a specific model of car to repair a problem. It can be anything from minor quality issues, up to major mechanical maladies. While not an uncommon event, this comes on the heels of a tidal wave of expanded recalls and investigations centered around the maligned Delta-Platform cars. TTAC was able to obtain a copy of the stop-sale notice for the B&B, which pinpoints the failure to the front-passenger half-shaft not meeting GM specifications, with the half-shafts possibly fracturing as the result. 

It is notable that this is the second time the Cruze was recalled for this exact issue last September. In GM’s letter to the NHTSA on September 23, 2013, GM noted the response time from the initial reports in July of 2013 to the initial stop-sale and recall in September of 2013 after receiving field report of the half-shafts breaking. GM found that poor quality control from the parts supplier lead to micro fractures inside the shaft. It’s unknown at this time why GM has again initiated this recall, but GM plans to release a full chronology in two weeks.

Below is a full text copy of the current stop-sale notice to dealers, and a partial copy of the recall letter which details the failure; the portion of the document left it is merely repair instructions for the technician.

GM CUSTOMER CARE AND AFTERSALES
DCS3173
URGENT – DISTRIBUTE IMMEDIATELY

Date: March 28, 2014

Subject: 14079 – Safety Recall — Stop Delivery Until Safety Recall Has Been Performed On Vehicle
Front Axle Right Half Shaft Fracture

To: All Chevrolet Dealers

Attention: General Manager, Service Advisor, Service Manager, Parts and Service Director, Parts Manager, New Vehicle Sales Manager

General Motors is announcing Safety Recall 14079 today. Please see the attached bulletin for details.

Vehicles involved in this recall were placed on stop delivery March 27, 2014. Once the service procedure contained in the bulletin has been performed on the vehicle, the vehicle is released from stop delivery and the vehicle can be delivered to the customer.

Customer Letter Mailing
The customer letter mailing date has not yet been determined.

Global Connect (GWM)
The “Investigate Vehicle History” (IVH) screen will be updated week of March 24, 2014. A list of involved vehicles in dealer inventory is attached to this message. Please hold all warranty transactions until the VIN appears in IVH.

Campaign Initiation Detail Report (CIDR)
The CIDR will be available in the near future.

END OF MESSAGE
GM CUSTOMER CARE AND AFTERSALES

And, finally, the recall report. Full text with photos detailing how to diagnose whether or not your Cruze has the defective half-shaft is here.

PRODUCT SAFETY RECALL

SUBJECT: Front Axle Right Half Shaft Fracture

MODELS: 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze Equipped with 1.4L Turbo Engine (LUV)

CONDITION

General Motors has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in some 2013-2014 model year Chevrolet Cruze vehicles, equipped with a 1.4L turbo engine (LUV). The interconnecting tubular bar on the front right axle half shaft on some of these vehicles may not meet GM specification and could fracture and separate. If this occurs while driving the vehicle, steering and braking control would be maintained; however, the vehicle would lose power to the wheels and would coast to a stop. If a vehicle with a fractured half shaft is parked on an incline without the parking brake applied, the vehicle could move unexpectedly, resulting in a possible crash or injury to pedestrians.

CORRECTION

Dealers are to inspect and, if necessary, replace the half shaft.

[...]

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Piston Slap: Dat Whining Azz! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/piston-slap-dat-whining-azz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/piston-slap-dat-whining-azz/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=692889 TTAC commentator EducatorDan/PrincipalDan writes: Long time listener, comment-er, hanger-on with another question. I have a 2004 F150 Heritage 4×2 that just cracked the 100,000 mile mark and recently I’ve noticed a distinctive rear differential whine. It has the 4.6 V8 mod motor, 4 speed auto, and (as you can see from the pics) an aftermarket […]

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TTAC commentator EducatorDan/PrincipalDan writes:

Long time listener, comment-er, hanger-on with another question.

I have a 2004 F150 Heritage 4×2 that just cracked the 100,000 mile mark and recently I’ve noticed a distinctive rear differential whine. It has the 4.6 V8 mod motor, 4 speed auto, and (as you can see from the pics) an aftermarket flatbed.

I have owned it since 2006 and it is long since paid for and is currently my daily driver. When purchased it already had 68,000 miles on it and the only “receipts” I have for it was the insurance paperwork in the glove-box to show it was owned by a member of the AARP and registered in Sun City, AZ. It was never intended to be my daily driver, when it was purchased it was for household chores, truck type jobs, and a second vehicle. What changed was that in 2008 I got divorced and suddenly the truck was THE vehicle that I was left with.

I have replaced an alternator and battery, tires, minor AC repair, installed a Dynomax dual exhaust system, and regular oil changes.

Within the next year I will be purchasing another vehicle (some large comfortable used well depreciated sedan for racking up highway miles) and the F150 will be parked for extended periods of time only to be called on when it is needed. I intend to do the full 100,000 mile service very soon. But the differential whine bothers me. It occurs from about 10 mph to around 70 mph when it goes away, in any gear. I recall a mention in several forums about Panther platform cars getting a differential whine at higher mileages and have looked on F150 owner forms about differential whine but most of those posts are about newer generation trucks still under warranty.

So here’s the question. For a guy who intends to keep this truck until gasoline is no longer a legal commodity to be sold, is this whine an issue? Is it a case of something that will sound like that for another 100,000 to 150,000 miles before the diff finally blows up? Should I start saving money now for that Detroit Locker I always wanted for when they have to replace the internals in the axle anyway?

Dan

Sajeev answers:

Hey Dan, the mixed messages given by the aftermarket flatbed and chrome fender extensions are super rad.  On one hand, it’s a blingy street truck.  On the other hand, it’s got a booty that works hard for the money…but I digress…

Axle whine on Ford 7.5 and 8.8 differentials has been around almost as long as I’ve been around! And the problem is rarely bad enough to actually kill the axle.  Since yours is out of warranty AND you will be getting another daily driver, let it be.  If the axle ever fails, get another one (with the same gear ratio) from the junkyard, odds are it will last many more years, be cheap to buy and a breeze to install.

And labor is the big problem when it comes to differential (ring and pinion) work.

More importantly, rear axle work is not for the faint of heart.  Setting up a ring and pinion requires specialist experience, letting just anyone crack open your axle to fix the problem is asking for BIG trouble.   Which you do not have now…and you probably never will. So let it be, enjoy it as part of the truck’s charm. Yeah, charm.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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2015 Ford Mustang “Body in White” Coming w/ Ford 9″ Axle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/2015-ford-mustang-body-in-white-coming-w-ford-9-axle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/2015-ford-mustang-body-in-white-coming-w-ford-9-axle/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 19:32:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=682578 I was there when Ford debuted its new-for-1999 Mustang Cobra with its “revolutionary” new independent rear suspension. The IRS was a first for the Ford Mustang, and it was a move that Ford’s brass believed would allow the “new edge” Cobra to compete with cars like the BMW M3 for supremacy in the budget super […]

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2015 Mustang

I was there when Ford debuted its new-for-1999 Mustang Cobra with its “revolutionary” new independent rear suspension. The IRS was a first for the Ford Mustang, and it was a move that Ford’s brass believed would allow the “new edge” Cobra to compete with cars like the BMW M3 for supremacy in the budget super car market. I also remember the very first question that was asked: Will a Ford 9″ bolt in? It was the first question, right out of the box … and it seems like someone at Ford remembers. The new-for-2015 Mustang is going to hit dealers with a new independent rear suspension late next year, and it seems like Ford Racing will have a 9″ live axle option ready.

According to a Ford Racing employee at PRI, the live-axle version of the 2015 Ford Mustang is expected to debut at next year’s PRI show as part of a new “body in white” program intended to attract serious racers to the platform. The body in white 2015 Mustang will also serve to take some of the shine off of bitter rival Chevrolet’s current COPO Camaro and body in white Camaro programs.

Once the live-axle 2015 Mustang racers are out “in the wild”, the parts needed to convert street-going Mustangs from independent rear suspensions to the 9″ setup should become available through Ford Racing and participating dealers. Back in 1999, SVT engineer Eric Zinkosky said the “new independent rear suspension (was packaged) in not only the same space as the solid-axle design, but we had to use the same suspension mounting points. We virtually ‘reverse-engineered’ the IRS from the known suspension hardpoints, and we had to keep everything inside the same box.” Assuming similar thinking went into the upcoming Ford Racing 9″ suspension for the bodies in white, getting a solid axle to help get a high-horsepower Ecoboost Mustang’s power down should be a lot easier than many have feared.

 

About my source: While I have opted to not give his name, this information came to me from a Ford Racing employee on-hand at the 2013 PRI Show yesterday, 12DEC2013, when I asked if I could look under the hood of the (supposedly) 4 cyl. Ecoboost Mustang spinning on the big lazy Susan at the Ford Racing stand. He said no. I told another PRI old-timer the story about the 1999 Cobra IRS reveal, which the Ford Racing rep overheard. He laughed and said, “Yeah, that’s not ’til next year. We’ll probably announce it at the same time as the body in white program …” but he got called away before he could say “That’s off the record.” Take that how you will.

 

Originally published on Gas 2.

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Piston Slap: Hella Sweet Engineering at The 24 Hours of LeMons http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/piston-slap-hella-sweet-engineering-at-the-24-hours-of-lemons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/piston-slap-hella-sweet-engineering-at-the-24-hours-of-lemons/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 12:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=492311 Aside from the great friendships forced via encouraged bribing that naturally occur when like-minded people congregate, the 24 Hours of LeMons is a fantastic opportunity for those wearing a Judge’s robe. Take last month’s race at Eagles Canyon Raceway: when stupid (yet purposeful) things like this Flavor Flav clock on the dash of this Mitsubishi […]

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Aside from the great friendships forced via encouraged bribing that naturally occur when like-minded people congregate, the 24 Hours of LeMons is a fantastic opportunity for those wearing a Judge’s robe. Take last month’s race at Eagles Canyon Raceway: when stupid (yet purposeful) things like this Flavor Flav clock on the dash of this Mitsubishi Eclipse arrive, I can’t help feeling like I’m hosting “Pimp My Ride LeMons” edition…

While Xzibit makes hilarious faces/comments as the kids talk about their hooptie’s general crappiness, I just snap a photo and begin judging them…so click the link to see more hilarity.

photo 1 So what is a rotary tool doing on the firewall of this Honda product?  That was my question…and the answer is astounding.

Apparently Honda’s EFI system uses a VSS (vehicle speed sensor) that is rather expensive to fix.  And fix it you must! When the VSS fails to report vehicle speed, Honda’s computer freaks out: going into a reduced performance, limp-home mode.  An inconvenience for most folks on the street, but a killer for a race car.  So what’s the fix on a $500 budget?  Attach a Dremel-style rotary tool to the firewall, turn it on and let it spin the VSS’s cable instead!

Wanna know what makes this even funnier?  The re-engineered, V2.0 implementation of this VSS workaround includes an ON/OFF switch on the dash!  Get in the car, put your helmet on, strap yourself in, fire up the motor…and wait for it…don’t forget to turn on the Dremel!

Re-engineering a brilliantly half-assed workaround is a fantastic notion. Such is the beauty of the $500 race car!

photo 3

This is the alternator of a Fox Body Mustang with the “twin spark” 2.3L four banger.  Said motor emitted a horrible shriek on occasion.  Upon closer inspection, the Mustang’s owners decided that zip ties were an adequate substitute for a proper nut and bolt.  Which apparently was lost at some point in the car’s life.

Surprise, surprise: the shriek went away after installing the correct hardware.  What would Xzibit say at this moment?

photo 4

This V6 Mustang is designed-owned by a pair of unbelievably intelligent engineers.  Very nice dudes who “get” the concept of a LeMons car, to boot.  These engineers, in the spirit of a $500 car, avoided the easy route of buying fancy shocks, painting them black and hoping we didn’t notice their performance on the bounce test.

The engineers said they had two good street shocks, and two horrible ones.  Combine the two (on a completely unnecessary Ford 9″ rear for what reason?) and you get adequate race dampers on the rear axle. Also note the adjustable panhard bar mounting points: very cool, but not very funny.

The shocks are completely in the spirit of LeMons, so I’m suitably impressed.  Laughing, but still impressed.

 

photo 5

Say you got a last-gen Mazda RX-7 turbo (FD bodystyle) for $500 after it caught on fire and became essentially worthless to any street going Rotary fan.  Say you spent a ton of money making it into a legit race car.  You probably don’t have much more left in the kitty for necessary body items to make an FD worthy of an endurance race. (And trust me, it wasn’t. Don’t fill the comments section with BS about how this car isn’t a worthy LeMons car)

This RX-7 was assembled in a matter of days, not months.  I was blown away at the “quality” of work, including this awesome home HVAC intake grille being used at a cooling grate for the RX-7’s turbo mill. I mean, why not use one of these if you have it lying around?

Conversely, you need to block off the gaping hole where the FD used to sport its trademark pop up headlights. One can assume the lights were stripped to help make this into a credible $500 purchase. Vinyl flooring makes for a great headlight alternative…especially at only $1.50 a headlight!

 

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Piston Slap: Come and Dance with…who??? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/piston-slap-come-and-dance-with-who/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/piston-slap-come-and-dance-with-who/#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2011 18:51:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=421349 Chris writes: Dear Sajeev, Love the website and love your reading your column. My question is I am looking to get a minivan within the next 6 months to a year. I am only looking to spend around 8 grand on one. I am leaning heavily towards Chrysler’s vans, and found some really great deals […]

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Chris writes:

Dear Sajeev,

Love the website and love your reading your column. My question is I am looking to get a minivan within the next 6 months to a year. I am only looking to spend around 8 grand on one. I am leaning heavily towards Chrysler’s vans, and found some really great deals on older ones with low miles. But then I read your article about how it’s not always good to go with older, low mile automobiles. So would I be better to get say, a 2002 model Town and Country, with a little over 100 hundred thousand miles? Or should I not even bother with Chrysler at all? I was leaning towards a Windstar as well, but then there’s that whole rear axle breaking thing, and I quite enjoy living. In your personal opinion what is the best minivan for my budget.

Sajeev Answers:

I’m gonna try something different: give reasonably decent advice in the beginning, then let out my crazy.  Because there’s more variety to your minivan choices than what you see: multiple opportunities to dance before dating in the Homecoming Dance of Minivan Life, as it were. So let’s do this thing.

That said, buying a used minivan is a tough nut to crack.  Usually a higher mile vehicle with ample service records is the way to go, but perhaps their Achilles’ heel (transaxles not worthy of such a large machine) will fail much sooner on a high mile rig versus a low mile creampuff.  After all, new tires/belts/hoses/brakes on a 30,000 mile rig is much more palatable than a new gearbox after 110,000 miles. Speaking purely in generalities, ‘natch.

Chrysler’s hit or miss quality control with transmissions is almost legendary.  Rebuilt units are just as troublesome, depending on the Pentastar-savviness of the shop involved. Windstars were recalled for rusty axles, and perhaps the replacements should also be coated in 90-weight gear oil to keep the problem from resurfacing, so to speak.

That said, 90-weight oil does smell like a gigantic ass, so perhaps not. But this isn’t the point.

Look at what’s in your budget, I suspect the recall free (fuel system aside) Ford Freestar is up your alley…they definitely trade under your budget in the auctions, so why not find a desperate seller ready to take a low ball bid? And with the “big block” 4.2L motor, they are rather quick too. I kinda like them, in a bizarre CUV-hating kinda way. Then again, you might find plenty of clean Chrysler vans with ample service paperwork and a clean transmission dipstick. How am I to know what you will find first?

Even though the last gen GM minivans are uglier than sin, they are also a worthy choice. Especially the Buick of Minivans, the Terraza. And maybe you’ll get a sweetheart deal on a Toyota/Honda minivan from a friend who could care less about their price premium on the market. So what’s my advice?

Let the service history, transmission fluid condition, and status of normal wear items (interior, brakes, paint, power-operated gizmos, tires, etc) be your guide.  Or be nuts like me, and hold out until you find a fully loaded Mercury Monterey and tune the hell outta that big block 4.2L for maximum minivan hotrod goodness.

Mercury lives: come and dance with me!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

 

 

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