Piston Slap: 'Revving Up Our Engines' for Earth Dreams?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
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piston slap revving up our engines for earth dreams

TTAC regular David Holzman writes:


My best friend has a 2019 Honda Accord with gas direct injection. Recently, Scotty Kilmer raised questions about the potential longevity — or rather potential lack thereof — of that engine.

I would expect Honda to have done a good job in designing that engine, but my friend is worried. Can you shed any additional light on this?

Sajeev answers:

It’s too early to condemn your friend’s Accord (with the base, oil diluted 1.5L Turbo) and we’ve previously touched on the nightmare reality of Honda’s Earth Dreams. While I’m not the biggest fan of my fellow Houstonian’s YouTube channel, he often digs into the details to find the heart of the problem.

And he did it again, hooray! Just have your friend change the oil regularly (possibly more often than prescribed) and everything should be tolerable for many years to come.

Since we got all “revved up” on a Scotty Kilmer joint, allow me to indulge in my long-overlooked pastime…

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

We’re dealing with a fantastic cocktail of low tension piston rings, engines with high compression ratios, forced induction’s impact on crankcase ventilation, and sometimes poor maintenance habits. It’s a lot to juggle.

The intention was noble: improve fuel economy without affecting performance (or triggering engine displacement taxes in China). And sometimes performance improves… to the point fuel economy suffers because of a driver’s excitable right foot. Irony!

As countless manufacturers’ headaches prove, this cocktail is a flawed implementation for an unrealistic a lofty goal: make cars/CUVs/trucks bigger, safer, more tech-savvy without losing fuel economy. Considering the public acceptance of an utterly simple electric vehicle (if Tesla makes it), perhaps a future downfall of the ever-compromised internal combustion engine is a two-player zero sum game?

Why would everyone want all this nonsense bolted up to a CVT-infused Honda when Tesla makes the minimalist Model 3? Of course a base Tesla is 15-ish grand more than a base Accord…

Too bad we can’t integrate the best of today’s technology portfolio with a 2.5-liter (naturally aspirated) four-banger (or an optional V6) with normal automatic transmissions, lower/more aerodynamic/lighter bodies from yesteryear’s showrooms and make a more durable, more perfect vehicle.

This is our new reality. Something’s gotta give, it’s gonna be fun to watch this unfold.

[Image: Honda]

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.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Ttacgreg Ttacgreg on Dec 06, 2019

    Welcome to contemporary sensationalist ratings and or click driven media culture. I felt faint echos of Alex Jones watching the two minutes I could stand.

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Dec 09, 2019

    Scotty Kilmer- where the only good car ever made was a mid 90's Toyota Celica. Everything else is junk because well a customer of his had one with a bad this or that thus condemning every single car from that manufacturer.

  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.