The Truth About Cars » plugs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:54:40 +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 » plugs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Start with Spark Plugs! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-start-spark-plugs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-start-spark-plugs/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:07:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956274   TTAC Commentator Supaman writes: Hi Sajeev, Haven’t visited TTAC in a while but I’m back! My Mazda 6 has now crossed the 101k mileage marker and all your nuggets of wisdom have helped keep this classic functional and beautiful. However, there’s another problem rearing its head that has plagued even the Mazda forums I’ve […]

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Done Duratec’d Out? (photo courtesy: Supaman)

TTAC Commentator Supaman writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Haven’t visited TTAC in a while but I’m back! My Mazda 6 has now crossed the 101k mileage marker and all your nuggets of wisdom have helped keep this classic functional and beautiful. However, there’s another problem rearing its head that has plagued even the Mazda forums I’ve visited for a resolution.

It involves the car’s driveability at anything below 3000 rpm. Doesn’t matter whether the engine is just warming up or at operational temperature, the car will hesitate (sometimes violently) in a stuttering/bucking fashion when accelerating from a stop through the gears until I crest that magic 3000 mark on the tach. Out on the highway, passing in top gear is almost impossible because of the engine’s hesitation if revs fall below that number, requiring a downshift to 4th to keep them up. At first I thought my manual skills were to question but then I never started experiencing this issue until around the 87,000 mile mark. It has since gotten worse. Sometimes the bucking is enough to trigger the CEL but then it always goes away after a while.

Browsing the forums I’ve tried everything from cleaning the MAF sensor, fuel injector cleaner, throttle body cleaning as well as replacing the O2 sensor. I’ve narrowed it down to either spark plugs (some forum members replaced theirs but the problem came back hours later), the coils or possibly a vacuum leak. One post I read indicated a potential cylinder misfire. Even Mazda dealers were confounded.

Sajeev answers:

What codes did you get with a scanner?

Supaman replies:

Haven’t scanned the codes because more often than not the CEL light doesn’t trigger.

Sajeev answers:

There’s a (remote?) chance that an intermittent code isn’t triggering the light. So scan now.

Supaman replies:

Hey Sajeev,

Took matters into my own hands and decided to throw some new parts at the Mazda. I bought new spark plugs and ignition coils and decided to dedicate a Saturday to replacing them. What was supposed to have been a three-hour job turned into eight hours of wrenching, ughing, cursing, awkward body positioning, pulling and beer (yes, beer lol).

Anyway, inspecting the forward bank of spark plugs, I found oil coating the middle plug (see pic). The forward left plug was clean (save for carbon deposits I suppose) while the forward right plug had just a hint of oil on it. This (along with the many forums I looked up) tells me my valve cover gasket is bad. I was able to use a clean cloth and mop up as much oil as I could before placing new plugs and coils into the forward bank. Apparently, the leak was so bad it made it up to the coil itself at some point.

The rear bank of plugs were clean, except for signs of normal wear. After buttoning everything up and taking it for a test drive, the hesitation and stuttering are gone and she drives as great as she did 20,000 miles ago. While at it, I cleaned the throttle body, replaced the intake port gaskets, and cleaned the EGR valve and MAF sensor. Of course I know this is a temporary fix and I’ll have to replace the valve cover gasket, hopefully sooner rather than later. Just wanted to give you a heads up and to anyone that works on their car, believe me, it’s a money saver.

Total cost in parts? $95. Total labor? 8 hours on a Saturday and a six-pack of stout. Thanks again!

Sajeev concludes:

I did a similar job to a Duratec Sable with well over 200,000 miles.  While the plugs were toast and the EGR was coked up to near complete blockage, the motor still ran reasonably well.  A good cleaning and new plugs were all it needed: odds are your coils were fine, just like mine were.

Working on wrong-wheel drive cars with bulky DOHC V6 engines is no fun, but the basics? The basics gotta be done.

 

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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The War Of The Plugs: The Japanese Empire Talks Back http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/the-war-of-the-plugs-the-japanese-empire-talks-back/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/the-war-of-the-plugs-the-japanese-empire-talks-back/#comments Tue, 22 May 2012 12:48:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445521 Today, members of CHAdeMO congregated in the 7th floor auditorium of Tokyo’s Big Sight for CHAdeMO’s  General Assembly 2012. CHAdeMO is a consortium of mostly Japanese companies with the target of establishing a standard for the charging of EVs. Also in the room was an invisible, but giant Godzilla. They called him “The Combo.” The […]

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Today, members of CHAdeMO congregated in the 7th floor auditorium of Tokyo’s Big Sight for CHAdeMO’s  General Assembly 2012. CHAdeMO is a consortium of mostly Japanese companies with the target of establishing a standard for the charging of EVs. Also in the room was an invisible, but giant Godzilla. They called him “The Combo.” The combo is the product of (in Japanese views) an unholy alliance between U.S. and German OEMs which agreed on their own plug. The CHAdeMO and The Combo are utterly incompatible. Sparks are already flying.

CHAdeMO president Toshiyuki Shiga, normally COO of Leaf-producer Nissan, sets the tone of the meeting by saying that “in the U.S. and in Europe there is a movement to eliminate the CHAdeMO by making the combo a regional standard.” That snub probably is too subtle for American ears, but the Germans will get it and will be appropriately outraged.

The war of the plugs is on. Currently, it is only a war of words. “The Combo” was repeatedly derided today as “the plug without the cars.” This not-so-subtle putdown hints at the fact that the combo is still a nascent standard (the SAE is supposed to declare it a real one,) while CHAdeMO has been adopted by the tens of thousands who bought Nissan’s Leaf and some of Mitsubishi’s iMIEV.

When listening to proponents of either standard, one gets the impression that the plug is a matter of life and death, and fitting the wrong plug can mean the end of the EV as we know it.

Others don’t think so. CHAdeMO had invited Mariana Gerzanych, CEO of 350green, a company that builds electric car charging stations across America.

Allegedly, 350green will use the CHAdeMO plug. I ask Mariana Gerzanych what she thinks of the combo, and she thinks it is “good technology.” Asked which side of the plug wars 350green will be on, Gerzanych answers: “None. We will put both plugs on our fast chargers.”

Doing this is no big deal, various techies at the meeting tell me. The plug represents less than five percent of the cost of the system. Having two different plugs until the dust settles won’t be cost prohibitive. Technical differences of the battling chargers can be settled. CHAdeMO Europe’s Ronald de Haas and various others suggest that CHAdeMO should adopt The Combo’s “power level change during the session” and its narrower, but lower cost “voltage window.” This may sound like Greek to most of us, but at the conference, it did sound like a done deal.

CHAdeMO’s peace initiative does not sit too well with General Motors. At a public hearing convened last week by California Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, GM’s Manager of Environment & Energy Policy, Shad Balch, asked for an embargo of the CHAdeMO. Balch said that “we need to make sure, especially because we’re talking about taxpayer money,” that ONLY the upcoming SAE combo standard is installed going forward. Balch was boooo’d at the hearing, and Torquenews notes that “the SAE committee is dominated by automakers who are fighting Nissan for electric vehicle dominance.”

Asking to leave California’s many Leaf owners stranded, and to favor still non-existent owners of still non-existent EVs that comply with a still non-existent SAE standard, amounts to a real declaration of war, and a rather hamfisted one.

PS: While a spiky-haired President of Japan’s EV Club is on stage selling the idea of a massive round Japan EV rally, a source that requested anonymity whispers in my ear: “Forget it. This is Japan and the charging stations are closed at night.”

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European Carmakers Agree On Standard Plug, Which One Unknown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/european-carmakers-agree-on-standard-plug-which-one-unknown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/european-carmakers-agree-on-standard-plug-which-one-unknown/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2011 17:14:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412279 If you have ever traveled through Europe, you know that electrical plugs are a mess. European carmakers want to avoid the same mess when you travel with your electric vehicle, say from Germany to Italy via Switzerland. It’s enough that you will have to charge early and often. It’s enough that places to plug in […]

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If you have ever traveled through Europe, you know that electrical plugs are a mess. European carmakers want to avoid the same mess when you travel with your electric vehicle, say from Germany to Italy via Switzerland. It’s enough that you will have to charge early and often. It’s enough that places to plug in will be scarce in the beginning. But at least the plug should fit your car. To promote that noble cause, the European Automobile Manufacturer Association ACEA has defined “a comprehensive set of recommendations to standardize the charging of electrically chargeable vehicles. The joint industry proposal will enable the use of one type of plug independent of car make, electricity provider or country.” So what will they use?

Nobody knows. The ACEA  “recommendations cover the whole link between the public charging infrastructure and the vehicle inlet including the communication between the two, and they address both slow and fast charging with direct or alternate current. As soon as approved by the relevant standardization bodies, vehicle manufacturers will start integrating the uniform application in their production cycles. The auto industry advocates the full implementation for new vehicles types from 2017.”

Which plug remains a secret.  Most likely, it will not be the SAE J1772 plug favored in the U.S,, nor the CHΛdeMO plug popular in Japan, but a different, European plug. Just to keep things interesting. At least we know that the secret standard will allow fast and slow charging, AC and DC.  And how many people will plug in? Says the ACEA:

“Most stakeholders assume a realistic market share for electrically-chargeable vehicles in the range of 3 to 10% of new sales by 2020 to 2025, depending on how quickly the most immediate challenges can be addressed.”

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