Piston Slap: New Life for Old Tooling… Or Not?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap new life for old tooling or not

TTAC commentator Halftruth asks:

Hey Sajeev,

This question came across my mind recently whilst reading all of the sedan death watch articles on TTAC. What happens to all the tooling and hardware when a model is discontinued/killed off? Can any of this stuff be recycled/redeployed?

Consider the Chryco 200, discontinued after 2 years. Will FCA mothball that stuff or throw it out or… something else?

Sajeev answers:

Finding relevant, concrete facts is challenging, so remember vehicle tooling eventually wears out. Especially for consumer touch points like body parts: perfect panel gaps are paramount to a ( perceived?) quality product. Don’t be surprised if vehicles that remain unchanged for years (a la 2009-present Toyota 4Runner) go through multiple sets of tooling.

And when the tooling fails to make the cut (so to speak), I reckon most is destroyed. First World manufacturers now refrain from selling sloppy seconds to their Third World counterparts, preferring the role of global manufacturers doing their thang in everyone’s backyard.

Redeployment? Yes, imagining the modern equivalent of the Vauxhall Victor reincarnated on a new continent is a romantic notion I’d love to indulge. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the durable, simple and strong Crown Vic became the next masala-infused Muscle car?

But that’s no longer viable. And if a cruise ship is worth 5+ million in scrap, assuming a financially significant value for vehicle’s collective tooling is far from insane. So what of the Chrysler 200’s tooling?

It’s probably off to the scrappers, if it hasn’t already turned into new tooling!

What say you, Best and Brightest?

[Image: Shutterstock user Zapp2Photo]

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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2 of 34 comments
  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Mar 16, 2018

    Here's my naive question. What happens to all the cars that *don't* get sold? I've always wondered where the last few 2016s, for example, go.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Mar 16, 2018

    Seeing the better part of a brand-new Hyundai Sonata unit body protruding from a dumpster out behind the Montgomery assembly plant in 2008 really put the economics of auto production into perspective for me. To quote Homer Simpson's long-lost half brother, "There's maybe forty bucks of steel in there". I'm guessing that well-used tooling is similarly discounted to mere salvage values.

  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.
  • SCE to AUX One data point: my rental '23 Model 3 had good build quality, but still not as good as my Hyundais.Test mule aside, perhaps the build quality of the CT will be good in 2027.