The Truth About Cars » SLP The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:25:59 +0000 en-US hourly 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 (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 » SLP Night Flight Of The Silver Ghost. An On Request Future Writer Story Mon, 25 Feb 2013 06:00:28 +0000

Some claimed yesterday that David Hester’s views of a government-issued Panther are more desired than his discussion of D.I.Y. engine mods. You ask for it, you get it today. How’s that for service? Also, be judicious with your comments about his prose. David may be a rookie writer, but he’s a seasoned cop, and he knows where to find you. In any case, I’ve seen a few police reports in the past, and Dave’s way with words definitely beats them all.

My cellphone begins to bleat a mere three hours after my head hit the pillow. I shake the cobwebs from my head and listen to an excitable 3rd shift sergeant inform me of a criminal act requiring the immediate attention of the Special Victims Section detective, yes, pronto, never mind the pre-dawn hours. Quick shave. Quick shower. Quick peck on the cheek of my sleeping wife. Then out into the cold for the forty minute drive from my home into the sleeping city.

My G-ride awaits, a 2007 Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor in “Official Government Business” silver. My department assigns each officer a home-fleet vehicle and I’ve been driving this one for a little over 40,000 of its 89,000 miles. One of the last of the real Police Interceptors, it boasts the civilian interior upgrade, with mouse-fur covered cloth bench seats instead of vinyl, carpeting instead of vomit resistant rubber, and a CD player. However, in a surprise outbreak of fiscal prudence, whoever ordered the cars that year failed to check the box for the exterior upgrades, like chrome trim. It’s the best of both worlds: soft semi-luxury inside with the blacked out “move to the right” front grill.

It takes about 10 minutes to reach I-75 from my driveway. I accelerate down the entrance ramp onto the empty interstate and settle into the left lane at… a reasonable and prudent speed. The big Ford loafs, eating up the miles without drama, solid as the day it rolled off of the assembly line. The only other vehicles I pass are 18 wheelers, their drivers probably wired to the gills on coffee, No-Doz, maybe meth. All of them are on high alert, scanning the road ahead and behind for the Crown Vic’s distinctive headlight pattern in their mirrors. Tonight their vigilance is rewarded: there is a Bear out there and I spy more than a few quick flashes of brake lights, even though none of them are in my lane and I subsequently couldn’t care less about the lies in their log books.

As I approach the bridge that crosses the river separating my quiet, rural home county from the urban jungle I work in, traffic is picking up a little bit. Not much, but there’s four-wheeled traffic mixed in with the truck traffic, and as I cross the bridge I can see a few lingering in the leftmost lane. The police radio goes on as I enter my jurisdiction and I start the light show a few seconds later.

The disco lights do the job. The left lane bandits are shaken out of their trances and slide into the center or rightmost lane well before I arrive. There’s no need for the vulgarity of the siren, which would interrupt Sinatra’s request for one more for his baby and one more for the road. I reach my exit and the lights go off, rendering me all but invisible to the traffic rolling on beyond. The city is beginning to stir, with lights coming on as shop owners prepare for the first customers. Joggers are out, as are paper delivery… men. I don’t suppose there have actually been paper delivery boys for decades.

I pull up at the emergency room and park in the ambulance bay. There will be at least an hour of waiting until the victim is cleared by the doctors, followed by another hour of interviews. Sometimes the case will be legitimate. Those are draining, especially if it involves a child. More often the case will be a case of regret, an attempt to cover up infidelity, or even a dispute over prostitution services rendered. Those cases will be unfounded, pended and forgotten in short order, sometimes with false report charges against the “victim,” but usually not. I suppose that’s for the best. A city in which every rape report was legitimate would be a horribly dangerous place to live.

The sun is up by the time I finish the interviews, and I roll on into the office to get an early jump on my shift. The day will drag by. Maybe there will be a suspect to find in regards to the new case, maybe not. By the time the day is over, the paperwork, at least, will be in order. I’ll mount back up and drive back across the river, feeling the weight of the case and the responsibility of the job disappear as the Crown Vic’s wheels thump across the last expansion joint. Dinner awaits, perhaps a beer or two, and then a good night’s sleep. It will be another twelve days until I have to cover the on-call schedule for the unit again.

Another twelve days before another night flight.

David Hester is a detective with the Lexington, KY Police Department by day and night. He drove a Crown Vic for work, but “does not suffer from an overabundance of Panther love.” David is a Editor’s Choice Future TTAC Writer, just in case we ever drive through Lexington, KY.

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The Airbox Of Lies. A Future Writer Story Sat, 23 Feb 2013 14:05:20 +0000

10 horses more, promise

It began as most projects do: with the triumph of Hope over Experience. I have a 2002 Camaro SS. One of the easier modifications is the installation of an aftermarket airbox lid from SLP. It has a smooth interior that reduces turbulence and shoves more air into the engine, resulting in more power and noise, or so it says. The SLP also comes with a cool K&N sticker, hence it must be good for at least 10 extra horses.

SLP’s website promised a “15 minute” installation time. I knew that was nonsense. I figured it would take an hour. What follows is a blow- by- blow account of how Hope snuck up behind Experience and slugged him with a sock full of nickels.

Typical 15 minute job

12:50 PM: I take the Camaro for a shakedown run so that I can make an accurate “seat o’ the pants” comparison later and get to work. SLP’s 15 minute installation time goes out the window when I spend 10 minutes looking for my ratcheting box end wrench to loosen the battery’s negative terminal before giving up and breaking out my socket wrench set. Still, the rest of the teardown goes easily enough. Soon I’m left with the air intake duct resonator which has the Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF) attached to the rear and the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor mounted slightly above it. Both of these parts have to be reused on the SLP lid. I grab the MAF with one hand, the resonator with the other, and pull. Nothing happens.

1:35 PM: Ten minutes of brute strength accomplishes nothing. Time to work smarter, not harder. Give me a lever and a place to stand and I shall remove my MAF from my restrictive factory resonator… provided I can work a screw driver between them. I can’t. I grab a hammer, but hesitate. One of the original grease pencil slashes from the final assembly line inspection stares back at me. I can probably hit the plastic resonator gently enough to free the MAF without damaging it, but should I? Contemplation is required, as is hydration. Have I really been out here for almost an hour?

2:10 PM: My break is over, as are another 15 minutes of the futile application of brute strength and profanity. Enough sentimentality. I grab the MAF with my left hand and swing the hammer. Two blows and the resonator falls to the floor.

2:15 PM: The IAT sensor is held by a rubber grommet. I pull on it. Nothing happens. I retrieve the screwdriver and start to work the grommet through from the inside. One slip and- sonofaBITCH!- I stab myself in the palm of my left hand. Back in the house for antiseptic. How long has it been since I got a tetanus shot?

2:30 PM: I go back to working the grommet carefully with the screwdriver. It finally pops free. I pick up the MAF sensor assembly and try to push it into the SLP lid. Nothing happens.

2:45 PM: SLP can’t be serious. The diameter of the airlid’s neck is three millimeters smaller than the circumference of the MAF. Brute force and profanity are even more useless than they were when I was trying to get the damn thing off. The instructions suggest using a hairdryer to heat the plastic up in order to make the assembly process easier. I go inside to get hers. My wife looks at me askance and asks how much longer I’m going to be in the garage.

3:30 PM: I sit on the floor of the garage, seething at the two lumps of evil that have mocked my attempts to mate them for the last hour. I have heated up the infernal plastic airlid multiple times to no discernible effect. Each time nothing. I hate MAF sensors, my Camaro, and the jack wagon who decided to advertise this tour of Hell as a 15 minute install.

3:35 PM: The neck is simply too small. I retrieve my rotary tool, warranty be damned. This project must be completed or let no man come back alive. Plastic dust fills the air. Maybe I can apply for black lung benefits.

3:55 PM: Several turns of polishing with the rotary tool, followed by obsessive- compulsive wiping of the inside of the lid to eliminate any stray bits of plastic, and the edge of the MAF barely fits. I heat up the plastic for 10 minutes before I start to shove it home. It starts in, but I put too much pressure on one side and it suddenly slips in too deep. Somehow I have managed to cross- thread the MAF into the airlid.

4:05 PM: Once again the right tool for the job turns out to be a hammer. The problem is that this time I will have to strike the MAF assembly itself instead of the plastic airlid. I find my rubber mallet. One swing knocks the pieces loose. I line up the MAF with the airlid and drive it into the neck as carefully as I can. When I finish the MAF is rotated about 90 degrees from being centered correctly at the top of the airlid so that I can plug it back in and it won’t turn by hand. I persuade it with the mallet while accusing it of the vilest forms of incest. It turns about three degrees with every blow. Eventually I have it straight enough for government work.

4:15 PM: Finally, the installation proceeds without much further delay, although just buttoning everything up takes longer than the advertised 15 minutes. How many times can you hit a MAF sensor assembly before it starts throwing codes? At least one more time than I did, because everything works with no idiot lights flashing on the dash.

Sounds more powerful

Time for a test drive. SLP claims a gain of 10 RWHP with the lid. It passes the seat o’ the pants test, for whatever that’s worth. What is definitely noticeable is the noise. I nail the throttle and the LS1 roars. I wasn’t expecting such a change in tone without an exhaust swap, but there’s no denying it. It just sounds meaner.

I feel a wide grin creeping across my face. That’s why I bought this car: It can make me smile. I’m already forgetting the frustrations of the last three hours, the way a mother forgets her labor pains when she holds her firstborn child. I pull into my driveway with a single thought coursing through my brain:

“I better bring that hairdryer back… ”

David Hester is a detective with the Lexington, KY Police Department by day and night. He drove a Crown Vic for work, but “does not suffer from an overabundance of Panther love.” David is a Editor’s Choice Future TTAC Writer, just in case we ever driver through Lexington, KY.

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