The Truth About Cars » pull http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:31:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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 » pull http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Vellum Venom Vignette: Of Portal Handling Pleasures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/vellum-venom-vignette-of-portal-handling-pleasures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/vellum-venom-vignette-of-portal-handling-pleasures/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494481
Jeremy writes:

Hi Sajeev,

G’day from Down Under. Big fan of the Vellum Venom column of yours. Car design, and more importantly the smaller details of car design have always fascinated me, even though I couldn’t design a car if my life depended on it. The first bit of design that really hit me was the first appearance of BMW’s “Angel Eyes” on the E39 M5.

Anyway, I’ve always wondered when and more importantly why have the “pull-type” door handles become the norm?

Excluding exotics, pretty much every car on sale now has this type of door handle. It’s obviously not a legal requirement, as the Civic hatch (among others) has “hidden” rear handles. I do think it’s boring though – every door handle is the same. It seems gone are the days of the NA MX-5 handles, or even the door handles on the EA-BF Ford Falcons.

Sajeev answers:

Agreed 100%, and thank you very kindly.  Your (wonderful) note poked at another one of my sore spots in modern automotive design: but while DLO FAIL is a horrid workaround, pull-out handles are merely a disappointment. But are these part of our mandatory modern automotive design lexicon, like goofy tall hoods needed to pass muster with Euro NCAP pedestrian protection standards?

Nope: along with your examples, peep ‘dat Dodge Charger SRT8 above. Two generations of the Dodge Charger wear unique, almost-flush mount door handles! For all the grief this website gives DaimlerChrysler-CerberusChrysler-FIATChrysler for their evil ways (baby) can you believe someone allowed the Dodge version of the Chrysler 300 to have unique door handles?

So Chrysler’s got themselves a mighty-fine handle.  Now take the Toyota Venza for an example of a pull-out handle.

To Toyota’s credit, their corporate pull-out handle is differentiated (by model) through unbelievably simple yet clever/unique door skin stampings: giving the impression of a different handle with just a tweak to the negative area underneath.  Not to say that Toyota has only one type of pull-out handle, far from it.  Which begs the question, why make every unit a pull-out handle casting if you’re making multiple designs for various vehicles?

I think there are multiple reasons, and cost has nothing to do with it.

First, embracing basic Physics: a door handle that pulls straight out shall open a door more efficiently than a flush mount handle with its “dog leg” hinges.  Why pull up and around when you can pull straight out?

Second, durability:  flush door handles with the aforementioned dog leg hinges are less durable.  Take the ones my Lincoln Mark VIII’s door handle (above).  The dog legs behind the plastic bezel are made of cheap pot metal, and careless user inputs mean they will shatter in cold weather…when trying to open a door as magnificently huge as said Lincoln.  They needed to be higher quality (i.e. more $$$) because of point Number Three.

Third, weight: today’s doors are larger (taller) than ever, with more side-impact protection than 20-ish years ago, more speakers, extra sound deadening material (including thicker glass) tighter weatherstripping (more force sucking shut in certain weather conditions) and more power features (power windows, locks, key-less transmitter sensors, etc.).  So, assuming similar construction and material choices (i.e. plastic, not steel) why would you work harder operating a dog leg hinge?

When you combine my three points, you have a slam dunk case for widespread adoption of pull-out handles. Assuming the same level of material quality in both designs, the pull out handles are more durable over years/decades of use.

About your “when” question: the ’00s were the era of abandoning flush mount handles, as almost every mainstream vehicle was redesigned in this decade. Except for the Ford Ranger (2011, out of neglect) and the Dodge Charger/Challenger (out of Who The Hell knows).  Am I right or wrong here?

Anyway, thank you all for reading. Have a great week.

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Piston Slap: An Inappropriate Grab? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/piston-slap-an-inappropriate-grab/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/piston-slap-an-inappropriate-grab/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2013 12:32:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=473537 TTAC Commentator flipper35 writes:

Hi Sajeev,

We have a 2000 Dodge Durango 2WD with rear abs (hub assembly is different than if the front had abs if it matters) and 165k miles.  It has been a pretty good truck with few issues but we do have an annoying one that came up.  The truck isn’t a commuter for me, just for the occasional errand that my wife needs to run or when the whole family goes somewhere so it gets driven a couple times a week just a few miles on the highway into town and back.  The issue is the brakes. 

They work fine but when stopping at highway speeds with constant pressure on the pedal the brakes will suddenly grab more and sometimes it is one side that will grab slightly quicker than the other then the braking is equal again.  These pads have about 8k mile on them and are a ceramic composite pad and were bedded properly when installed but the rotors had some slight grooving and the old one had little life left.  I went with this style because the last set of ceramic composite (NAPA brand) were great with good feel and exceptional performance when hustling on the back roads.  The new ones are from a parts warehouse that supplies parts stores all over the area (dad works there so I got a great discount.  During heavy braking the issue doesn’t show up but it is a little disconcerting to have the truck pull to one side briefly during normal stops.  The brakes will exhibit some fade now when hustling the curvy roads where the old ones did not.  Re-bed or replace pads and rotors?  Rust from sitting a while after the last snow storm and salty roads?

Sajeev answers:

Getting old sucks.  While I am not sure of the exact problem, I betcha it’s one of these:

  • Collapsed brake line (inspect all rubber components)
  • Rusty brake caliper bores (reman replacements are cheap)
  • Crud in the brake caliper’s fluid reservoir (see above)
  • Very, very bad brake fluid (flush the system entirely)
  • Extremely loose ball joint on one side (not likely)

It sounds like you have the brake pad and rotor situation under control, and you drive it enough to make rust a non-starter.  I mean non-stopper.

I think you have an old truck that needs more than a basic brake job. Time to check the calipers, the brake lines and the suspension. Hopefully all you need are a new pair of front calipers: they are about $25 each from Rock Auto. Score.

 

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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