Piston Slap: Blinded by the Light or BGE Clarity?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap blinded by the light or bge clarity

Looooooongtime TTAC reader Robin writes:

Even after all these years on the road (driving since 1972) there are still situations that raise the hackles on my my neck. This is my cautionary tale.

The other day I was on 75, heading south to Dallas, from McKinney. It was around 6:00 a.m., a good hour before sunrise. I like to stay in the next-to-the-outside lane, leaving the furthest right hand lane for drivers entering the freeway. So I began my scan to move over one.

Immediately behind me was a late model, full-sized truck. They are high enough that those headlights pretty much flood my rear vision. I could see that he was NOT attempting to overtake me, either. But there was something in my field of vision. It was vague, flooded out by those projector headlights. I hesitated before moving. And sure enough, here came a guy on a motorcycle, passing us all. He was not driving recklessly at all. Yet I could not see him for the briefest instant as he traversed through the glare of those projector beams.

I don’t know what would have transpired, we were all tucked in pretty damned closely.

Bottom line is, no matter how safely one is operating their vehicle, no matter how safely everyone else is operating, it only takes a literal second for things to go sideways.

Sajeev answers:

While I wasn’t there with our OP, he lives in my home state: some of Our People are proud of their turbo-blindy aftermarket HID/LED kits in factory housings never intended for such bulbs, sometimes made worse by lift kits*** ensuring everyone sees your blinding light.

So protect yourself from misaligned/illegal headlights (and fog lights!) via mirror adjustment as per Blindzone Glare Elimination ( BGE) guidelines.

I was thrilled to recently learn that BGE is taught (has been taught?) in Texas Driver’s Education, this will help everyone. So a big thanks to SAE member George Platzer for writing t he definitive article in 1995: if only I was young enough to learn from his wisdom in school!

But now I embrace the BGE lifestyle, combined with a modest rear window tint, the issue Robin experienced (almost?) never happens to me. Believe that.

[Image: Shutterstock user Oleksiy Mark]

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.

***No, I’m not hatin’ on lift kits, especially since many a lifted truck saved Houston residents during Hurricane Harvey. The issue here is completing the upgrade via headlight adjustment and not using aforementioned blindy (technical term) and illegal bulbs in housings never intended for them. Otherwise, I got nothing but love for them skyward Cowboy Cadillacs, Son!

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  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Jul 06, 2018

    Nine times out of ten I'll be blinded by a lifted Toyota Tacoma, with its HIDs set on stun. Ironically, nine times out of ten the car whose headlights are NOT on is a Toyota, the illuminated instrument cluster apparently deceives its functionally-blind driver, who cannot tell that their lights aren't on.

  • FThorn FThorn on Jul 08, 2018

    One of my friends does/"has done", or worked on the Ford F-X50 lights. I agree that they are blinding, and dangerous, most of the time. If you're young, just wait, if you live that long. Us survivors (of age) are affected by these things.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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