Piston Slap: Fumble!

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Craig writes:

After checking out TTAC’s reviews and having a general distaste for sending a 
perfectly fine car to the clunker heap, I decided (even though I have a vehicle that qualifies for C4C) that the best car is a free car. I’ve been catching
 up on maintenance on the 1992 Lexus LS400 since I made that choice as
 I was letting the work slide. Saturday night’s project was a PCV valve replacement. Nothing major . . . unless you are clumsy. I dropped the PCV valve on what I’m assuming is my exhaust manifold (I’m kind of new at this). There is a metal . . . tray? created by the part and sure enough—3 point shot from downtown—the valve landed smack in that little trough. No biggie, right? Just get the magnetic grabber tool and fish it out.

No dice. Put a glove on, contorted myself and got a hold of it with my hand. Wouldn’t budge. Waited until the morning and it looks like it melted to the manifold. My current theory is that the manifold was hot enough to melt whatever impurities or residue or whatever that lived on the PCV valve and bond it to the manifold proper. Manifold swaps on this car, I think, are a major operation. My question to the TTAC community is as follows:

Do I really even need to worry about this? I went for a ~100 mile trip post melting that included highway, stop and go and city driving. The thing hasn’t moved. Or is there some good way to get this out that I don’t even know about?

Sajeev replies:

I’ve melted stuff to exhaust manifolds before and a melted PCV isn’t any different than a cooked spark plug wire or spilled oils: the manifold doesn’t care, the only problem is the smell of a smoldering component as it disappears into nothingness. So you are in the clear. But—and this is very, VERY important—

There has never been a more perfect excuse to buy tubular exhaust headers for your Lexus. Check out the remix of the “Relentless Pursuit of Perfection” (above).

Now tell me which car is truly the clunker: a wheezy shitcan Corolla you considered or a hot-rod LS400? You have an opportunity: a melted PCV valve delivered on a silver platter. This is your excuse to make the Lexus LS400 into something truly wonderful. Your Japanese Muscle Car awaits . . .

[Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

More by Sajeev Mehta

Join the conversation
2 of 28 comments
  • Niky Niky on Sep 28, 2009

    The plastic is already melted. The only danger is the fumes, at this point. RE: Rechip... the GTi gets 60 horses because it's turbocharged... a naturally aspirated V8 should get 20-30... but that's still a lot of bang for the buck.

  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Sep 29, 2009
    Porsche986 : Interestingly, nobody has mentioned the potential fire hazard of melting plastic, etc under the hood… I’d get it out of there if I could! I'd agree, if I found a good deal on LS400 headers. Gotta have some reason to begin the insanity, ya know.
  • Tassos Jong-iL The Peninsula of One Korea.
  • Eric No, I just share my opinions. I have no use nor time for rhetoric from any side.
  • Redapple2 Jeez. This is simple. I 75 and 696 area. 1 nobody -NOBODY wants to work in downtown Detritus. 2 close to the tech ctr. Design and Engineering HQ. 20 miles closer to Milford.3 lower taxes for the employees. Lower taxes for Evil GM Vampire.4 2 major expressways give users more options to suburbs. Faster transport.Jeez.
  • Clark The Ring (Nürburgring) is the only race track I've driven on. That was 1985 or 1986 with my '73 Fiat Spider (and my not-so-happy girlfriend). So I made the Karussell (today: Caracciola Karussell, which I believe the author meant; there is another one: Kleines Karussell).
  • AZFelix This article takes me back to racing electric slot cars with friends on tracks laid out in the basement. Periodically your car would stop due to lost connections or from flying off the track and you would have to dash over to it and set it right. In the mean time your competitor would race ahead until faced with a similar problem. It seemed like you were struggling harder to keep from losing than trying to win. Fun times.“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” Mark Twain