The Truth About Cars » Cooling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 19:13:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 » Cooling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: The Too Cool Miata? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-the-too-cool-miata/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-the-too-cool-miata/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 13:09:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=653858 John writes: Dear Sajeev, Thank you for much good reading and practical knowledge for a very amateur do-it-yourselfer. My auto repair and maintenance skills are very limited, but I enjoy doing what I can myself. Even just the oil changes and having control of the materials used to perform it. So you are looking for […]

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John writes:

Dear Sajeev,

Thank you for much good reading and practical knowledge for a very amateur do-it-yourselfer. My auto repair and maintenance skills are very limited, but I enjoy doing what I can myself. Even just the oil changes and having control of the materials used to perform it.

So you are looking for subjects, and here goes-this may resonate with any number of Miata owners. For about a year the CEL has been popping up a code (0126) that I read with a simple device purchased online that evidently means the engine is running too cold, which I have never even heard of, but why not? Insufficient combustion temp?

Anyway, I see that it must be the thermostat which is seriously buried in this car and beyond my meager skills to get to, much less reassemble.

Do you think there is any urgency to getting this repaired? Car runs just fine.

Thanks!

Sajeev answers:

P0126 always takes me back to my time as a wannabe car designer at CCS in Detroit: if I wasn’t spilling venom on the vellum I’d dabble in auto repair consultation. To wit, a good friend spoke of his Merkur XR4Ti that he left in Florida, missing it but hating how it always ate “engine sensors”. Now, as a self-proclaimed expert on all things powered by Ford’s EEC-IV fuel injection system, I found that rather odd. Further questioning lead to this comment: “Oh, I never drove it with a thermostat. It’s Florida, you don’t need a thermostat!”

***headdesk***

If only I knew better back then, I coulda put him in check: EFI systems run at a certain minimum temperature to ensure the motor’s ideal health and efficiency. If not, you run the system in open loop, instead of listening to inputs like the Oxygen Sensors, MAF meter, etc to keep emissions down, power up, liquid smooth idle, etc. Take the thermostat out of the system and the sensors are never consulted.

Is that happening in your Miata? It could be running in open loop. Or not: modern EFI systems are somewhat more intelligent than Ford’s antiquated EEC-IV, but this needs attention. My advice is simple, this code is normally produced by a faulty engine temperature sensor or a…like my friend’s Merkur…a problem with the thermostat.

Instructions on removing the T-stat are here, and this suggests that 2006 models are plagued with T-stat problems. So perhaps it’s time for a new Thermostat, or perhaps you should re-install your thermostat and NOT RUIN YOUR MERKUR, SON!

 

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: 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: Deffo Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/piston-slap-deffo-not-your-fathers-oldsmobile/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/piston-slap-deffo-not-your-fathers-oldsmobile/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2013 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475421 Paul writes: Long time listener, first time caller. I have a 1982 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Brougham, that last summer I ripped the 307 out of. It now has a Chevy ZZ4 crate motor, backed by a TH 350 transmission. (Gasp! My hero!!! – SM) My problem now is the car overheats if it is sitting […]

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Paul writes:

Long time listener, first time caller. I have a 1982 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Brougham, that last summer I ripped the 307 out of. It now has a Chevy ZZ4 crate motor, backed by a TH 350 transmission. (Gasp! My hero!!! – SM)

My problem now is the car overheats if it is sitting still. I have a stock sized radiator (for the 307) installed, backed by a pair of electric 12″ fans. The fans are rotating in the proper direction, and do turn on and off properly.

My question now is: do I add more radiator (which would mean fabricating new mounts, lots of other stuff), or switch to a mechanical fan? I would need to go with a reverse rotation mechanical fan as I have the serpentine belt pulley kit on the motor. Do you think the fan alone will fix the problem? My other question is I only have about 1000 km on this engine, could it just be some trapped air in the coolant system?

Please reply quickly, as I am looking to start rolling in the car now that winter is done here in Winnipeg.

Thanks, Paul.

Sajeev answers:

First off, lemme say these vintage Olds 98s and Buick Electras are so much cooler than comparable Panthers. Second, OMG SON ZZ4 98 RESTOMOD FTW SON!

Now, how old is the radiator? You probably just need a new one, a OEM replacement. Radiators get clogged with age, and my first comment is to replace what you got if you do not know how old it is.

Once again, I love your restomod! Early 80s GM sedans deserve the attention you are giving. This is the real definition of Panther Love, fixing those often misloved American icons from our now unfortunate past.  But, now we have crossover utility vehicles.  So all the best to you.

Paul writes:

Hello Sajeev, thank you for the reply. The rad is brand new, installed at the same time as the engine. Any other ideas you have would help.

Thanks Again, Paul.

Sajeev answers:

How many CFMs (cubic feet per minute) do the fans push? You might want to see if they flow as well as the Lincoln Mark VIII electronic fan, as it is an upgrade for many vehicles, and maybe that’s what you need. See what CFMs it flows for sure.

Paul writes:

Hello Sajeev, the fans are not rated for CFM. I think I am going to go with the mechanical fan, and see what happens. I will make sure to update you with how well it works.

Thanks, Paul.

Sajeev concludes:

There’s nothing wrong with having a mechanical fan, but I’m starting to wonder if that isn’t the problem.  Yes, perhaps you didn’t “burp” the system properly and there’s an air bubble in it.  Definitely run the Olds (from a dead cold start) with the radiator cap removed and the heater on.  Let the system circulate and as it gets up to operating temperature, you should see bubbles escaping from the radiator. Top off the system right there, and in a minute or two, put the cap back on when it starts to dribble out the top of the radiator.**

Perhaps the radiator cap isn’t strong enough to keep correct pressure, or maybe the thermostat is defective…or maybe who knows from our vantage point!  But we all wish you luck on this unbelievably awesome restomod project. Dang.

 

**Not applicable on newer vehicles, as you can’t even see the radiator.  The same technique applies, but you have to remove the radiator cap from the remote fill reservoir instead. And maybe from another fill/bleed point, ALWAYS RTFM WHEN IN DOUBT!

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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Another Plugin Problem: A123 Warns Of “Potential Safety Issue” With Fisker Karma Battery http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/another-plugin-problem-a123-warns-of-potential-safety-issue-with-fisker-karma-battery/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/another-plugin-problem-a123-warns-of-potential-safety-issue-with-fisker-karma-battery/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2011 16:20:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423570 In the ramp-up to the launch of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, a great debate seized the engineering community: was Nissan opening itself to problems by not including a active thermal management system for the Leaf’s battery pack, or was Chevrolet’s liquid-cooled approach simply adding unnecessary complexity? Well, thus far, the verdict seems to […]

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In the ramp-up to the launch of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, a great debate seized the engineering community: was Nissan opening itself to problems by not including a active thermal management system for the Leaf’s battery pack, or was Chevrolet’s liquid-cooled approach simply adding unnecessary complexity? Well, thus far, the verdict seems to be in Nissan’s favor. Though Leaf has been troubled by some dissatisfaction with its real-world range, the Volt has endurd the first technical semi-scandal of the plug-in era, when federal regulators found that ruptured coolant lines could cause fires. Now the liquid-cooled approach is hitting its second challenge, as Fisker’s battery supplier A123 Systems is warning in a letter [PDF] that

some of the battery packs we produce for Fisker Automotive could have a potential safety issue relating to the battery cooling system.

Ruh-roh!

In its warning letter, A123 explains

Specifically, certain hose clamps that are part of the battery pack’s internal cooling system were misaligned, positioned in such a way that could potentially cause a coolant leak. Over time, it is possible that in certain rare circumstances, this coolant leak could potentially lead to an electrical short circuit.

There have been no related battery performance or safety incidents with cars in the field. However, A123 and Fisker are committed to safety and are taking immediate, proactive steps to prevent any issue from occurring.

We have developed a confirmed repair for this situation. In the short time since recognizing this potential safety issue, the root cause was quickly identified, a fix has been developed and corrective action is well underway.

In total, fewer than 50 customer cars are involved in this action.

Bloomberg adds that the problem has been caught relatively early, as Fisker is still producing just 25 Karmas per day at Valmet’s contract-manufacturing plant in Finland. Production is scheduled to hit 60 units per day sometime next year. Meanwhile, A123 is also preparing to start supplying batteries to Chevrolet’s Spark EV, so GM is probably breathing a sigh of relief that it’s catching battery problems before that contract starts. Still, these early issues with battery cooling systems are tipping the debate in favor of the cheaper, less-complex passive cooling approach… for now, anyway. When Summer arrives and temperatures rise, we’ll be keeping an eye on the Leaf fleet to see if problems pop up there.

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