The Truth About Cars » SCT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 05 Nov 2014 18:01:06 +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 » SCT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: UR U Joints Be Bangin’ Dat Stang? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-ur-u-joints-bangin-dat-stang/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-ur-u-joints-bangin-dat-stang/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 13:30:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939361 Mark writes: Sajeev– Here’s a weird one to test your skills of remote diagnosis. Fire up your Magic 8 Ball for this one. Car: 2012 Mustang V6, manual gearbox, performance package (currently running some crappy General AS Max-03 tires), 33,000 miles. I’m the only owner; special ordered to get it just the way I want. […]

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Torque On The Left Hand side? (photo courtesy: www.moderndriveline.com)

Mark writes:

Sajeev–

Here’s a weird one to test your skills of remote diagnosis. Fire up your Magic 8 Ball for this one.

Car: 2012 Mustang V6, manual gearbox, performance package (currently running some crappy General AS Max-03 tires), 33,000 miles. I’m the only owner; special ordered to get it just the way I want. Mods limited to a Shaftmasters one piece drive shaft (scared into it by a few YouTube videos), a Draw-Tite receiver hitch to pull my one bike motorcycle trailer, and an 87 octane tune uploaded via SCT (on your recommendation). The car will go into a nearby Ford dealer for a look at this issue under warranty this coming Friday, but based on the “quality” of some of the work I’ve had done over the years, I thought it would help to give the techs some clues.

Problem: For the past few days, I’ve heard irregular “bangs” or “clunks” from under the car.

The noise is heard, not felt, and I’m unable to pinpoint the corner of the car from where the noise emanates. It doesn’t seem to be speed related: the noise can happen at a walking pace on up to about 40 mph, and the frequency doesn’t vary with speed; the noises can be 2 seconds apart or 30 seconds apart. I think the noise continues at higher speed, it’s just drowned out by wind/road noise. Some bumps set off the noise, some don’t…can’t seem to figure out any common threads on the bump-noise relationship. The one thing I have noticed: no noise if the brakes are applied. Even a very light drag of the brakes silences any noise.

My Own Research: I’ve had the car jacked up in the garage and I don’t see any obvious issues. The exhaust system seems to be well secured, as do the anti-roll bars. No obvious hanging parts. The brake pads have plenty of meat. No leaks from the shocks/struts. The receiver hitch is not loose.

This car has had a few chassis issues: a new steering box around 15k and a new rear anti-roll bar around 30k. I blame the poor condition of roads here in Illinois for those failures, along with the lack of give from the low profile 40-series tires.

Some digging in Mustang forums failed to uncover a smoking gun.

Bonus Question: When these crappy Generals give up the ghost, do you see a major problem with switching to 45-series tires in an effort to gain a little more bump compliance?

Thanks, Sajeev!

Sajeev answers:

I’ll answer the easier (bonus) question first: sure, no problem and it might help a little. But wanting bump compliance from 19″ wheels on a car is like expecting an honest answer from a politician.  Both are laughable: try minus sizing via 17″ wheels from an older S197 (as they get dumped on craigslist for dirt cheap) over the performance package’s upgraded front stoppers.  If not, maybe 18″.  If not, give up be awesome and get a Grand Marquis as a second car.

That was easy.  Now, I suspect your first question shall have no solution when a mechanic starts prying/wiggling suspension things to test for play.

I commend you on the modifications, but…there’s always a but. My gut thinks the new U joints on that new (and necessary) upgraded driveshaft are the problem. Can you (gently, with millimeters of throttle input) load/unload the drive line while the tires are losing/gaining traction?  Like maybe on a bumpy/slick road at highway speeds. If the thud/clunk comes back, it’s the U joints.

If not? Maybe it’s a shock/strut mount. Or maybe a sway bar mount, but the speeds you mentioned make me think U joints Über Alles.

 

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: Hocus Pocus…Focus??? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/piston-slap-hocus-pocus-focus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/piston-slap-hocus-pocus-focus/#comments Tue, 29 Jan 2013 12:10:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475449   Zack writes: Hi Sajeev, I’ve been following a series of discussion on a MK3 Ford Focus forum; in particular I’ve been following the technical discussion about how to squeeze more power from the MK3’s new 2.0 GDI motor. Of course, this involves talk of CAIs, Cat-deletes (inadvisable), and free flow exhaust. One of the more curious things […]

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Zack writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’ve been following a series of discussion on a MK3 Ford Focus forum; in particular I’ve been following the technical discussion about how to squeeze more power from the MK3’s new 2.0 GDI motor. Of course, this involves talk of CAIs, Cat-deletes (inadvisable), and free flow exhaust. One of the more curious things to emerge is…

…the notion that re-gapping the spark plugs can account for +5whp. I’m dubious to say the least that something seemingly inconsequential could generate that much power. It’s almost seems akin to slapping turbo badges on the rear lid expecting some similar black magic. This being an internet car forum there is much breathless back and forth, but few actually explanations. I was hoping you might have heard of this “trick” and whether or not there’s any validity.

I think for questions like this we need a carforum Snopes.com, but then again we have you. Thanks in advance!

Sajeev answers:

You sir, have made my day.  Putting me on par with Snopes is a high honor indeed. That said, now I wonder if Snopes is as horribly inaccurate and clueless as yours truly on many, MANY occasions. (sad trombone sound)

Now about the spark plugs: I won’t say that a re-gap cannot possibly increase horsepower.  I will say that it isn’t very probable.  At all. Two things:

  1.  Spark plug gap can make a huge difference, especially in forced induction (turbo or supercharger) applications where adding extra boost is on the table.  But that low hanging fruit (i.e. extra power) is usually not there in factory setups: they normally hide the power in tame air/fuel/timing parameters in the engine computer’s tune.
  2. If it isn’t backed by a dyno sheet from a local tune shop, this is pure, un-stepped on, pharmaceutical grade bullshit.

Look, I’ve been messing with Ford products for a looooong time. And while not everything I do has been proven with dyno results, there’s always that low hanging fruit proven many times over with other’s dyno sheets: conservative factory computer tunes, intake boxes with inlet tubes significantly smaller than the engine’s throttle body and mediocre (i.e. quiet and restrictive) mufflers on inadequately shaped crush bend exhaust tubing (older models only).  The first is solved with an SCT tune, the second is free (remove something) or requires a trip to Home Depot for a slice of PVC pipe/glue/black paint,  and the latter is not a big deal with an exhaust shop and a muffler from a 2005-present Mustang GT.

But spark plug gap? The forums never show that as a credible performance modification.   Perhaps GDI motors are a game changer, but I doubt it.  That will be optomized to perfection by Ford’s engineers, the low hanging fruit will be the things mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Best and Brightest, you go right ahead and prove me wrong. Snopes ain’t got nothin’ on me. Or not.

 

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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