Category: Piston Slap

By on February 28, 2020

After a decade-plus of being TTAC’s foremost expert in Panther-bodied Fords, as well as the go-to Texan for any of your questions about OBD II or old-car designs, Sajeev is moving on.

He’s found a full-time home with another outlet, and we wish him well. He’ll be missed.

Read More >

By on February 28, 2020

Mercury Grand Marquis Taxis & Sajeev Mehta, Image: Sajeev MehtaI was once a disillusioned grad student, endlessly unhappy with my prospects and with a simmering anger within my soul.

I previously ranted for Blue Oval News, after that outlet beat Ford in court. But when that gig ran its course and grad school had me over a barrel, I found TTAC’s august founder and made a modest proposal: let me review something that deserves a fresh perspective over Spring Break and I’ll give you 800 words on it.

No matter, things improved over the course of almost fourteen years, to the point I must now say goodbye to my beloved home.

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By on February 21, 2020

ford

TTAC’s own Ronnie Schreiber writes:

Sajeev,

How many spark plugs do you think a Model T “trembler” ignition coil can fire simultaneously?

I’m foolishly trying to make a spark plug-based Chanukah menorah (candelabra), so I need to have as many as nine plugs sparking at the same time. I could use individual coils but those run about $100 each and I don’t want to spend a thousand bucks on this project.

Yes, I know the voltages are dangerous. Read More >

By on February 14, 2020

Image: Lucid Motors

Marc writes:

Hi. Long-time reader, and have had a past question answered. With all the hype surrounding electrification, there is one aspect I see little discussion about — the impact on the service and parts business. If the majority of profits at a dealership comes from service and parts, what is the impact of no oil changes, etc, and the myriad of ICE parts that electric vehicles don’t have? Jiffy Lube, Aamco, Midas, all done.

The economic implications are huge. Your thoughts?

Read More >

By on February 7, 2020

Toyota Corolla owned by Lucas, Image: OPLucas writes:

Hello, Sajeev. I have a 1993 Toyota Corolla (Aussie spec, pictured here) and am contemplating getting a set of Eibach springs for it. What other costs might be associated aside from installation? What other products would I need to purchase, if any? Read More >

By on January 31, 2020

Diana writes:

Hi Sajeev!

My husband, rrhyne56, gave me your email address, because I have a question about my 2008 Honda CR-V.

The alarm goes off, in the middle of the night, only when the temperatures are freezing. Unlocking with the FOB, stops it. But, the FOB will not lock the car. I have to open the door, close it and then the FOB will lock and set the alarm again.

Hope you can help, because I’m losing sleep. Maybe my car wants us to move to a warmer place… 😉 Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

TTAC Commentator Halftruth writes:

Hey Sajeev,

I’m trying to help my aunt out with her Mercury Sable, which has a 3.0-liter Duratec engine. It has an oil leak from the front passenger side which I believe is coming from the timing chain cover. How hard is this repair and what else should I look for if, say, the leak is not the cover or oil pan? I have checked the valve covers, oil press sender, and cam sensors — all dry. Read More >

By on January 17, 2020

Frank writes:

So, reading about the Lithium Mustang with its completely superfluous six-speed gearbox got me and some friends thinking about when you need a transmission and when you don’t.

We all know that steam engines and electric motors torque from the git-go and never need transmissions, whereas ICE engines can’t do that. But then we realized none of us knew why. So, that’s the question — why can’t ICE engines torque like those others? Read More >

By on January 10, 2020

1989 Taurus LX Wagon, Image: Ryan the OPRyan writes:

I have another question about my 1989 Taurus LX wagon, but I wanted to let you know that your diagnosis of my automatic climate control was dead accurate. (Well yeah, I’m awesome like that. – SM)

I didn’t think it was the AC compressor clutch because I used a hot wire to put power directly to the terminal on the compressor while the engine was off and I could see the clutch pull against the pulley. But after your response I tried something different — I pulled the AC clutch power wire out of the connector to the relay module and connected power to that wire while the engine was running. I could see the clutch pull against the pulley, but it was slipping. Read More >

By on January 3, 2020

2016 Honda Civic Sedan - Image: Honda

Letty writes:

My 2016 Honda Civic A/C compressor is not working. It is sadly not under warranty, but I heard that the compressor is a problem that Honda knows about but is not willing to recall. Will the compressor be recalled in the near future? Read More >

By on December 20, 2019

Toyota MR2 AW11, Image: Toyota Europe

Jeremy writes:

Hey Sajeev,

Long time reader, first time writer; I finally have an issue I can’t seem to figure out and was hoping you can help.

I have a supercharged 89 Toyota MR2 I bought a couple years ago but only really started driving a couple months ago, and while the car runs and drives about as well as any peak-era Toyota from time to time I would notice the revs would hang around 2,000 rpm when I came to a stop. I never really cared that much since I could stab the throttle once or twice and they would dip down to ~1,000.

However, I recently had a bunch of preventive and routine maintenance done, which has caused the rev hanging to become much more prevalent (I originally thought it was a stuck throttle cable, but the mechanic said it wasn’t; I also Seafoamed it before it went in the shop, but I don’t think that’s behind the rev hang worsening).

Now 2,000 rpm is the norm rather than the exception when I’m at a stoplight, with 3,000 rpm a not-uncommon occurrence, and when I stab the throttle the revs don’t really drop down anymore.

The mechanic said he couldn’t find a vacuum leak, but the car wouldn’t die when he shut the idle control valve completely; he also said something called a VTV was missing in the vacuum circuit. I have a feeling this is why the supercharger engaging feels like VTEC is kicking in, yo. The mechanic also said he couldn’t get the timing set dead perfect after my work.

The mechanic thinks the issue behind the rev hang is either in the missing VTV or perhaps something lurking in the air bypass valve, and I was hoping for a second opinion as well as ideas on where to look next.

Give all my best to Sanjeev,
-Jeremy

Read More >

By on December 13, 2019

1988 Lincoln Town Car Rear, Images: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta

Peter writes:

I got a case of Panther Love and bought a nice 89 Town car. It’s a lower mileage (62k) girl, one that has been taken care of. I DD it.

I have been busy fixing everything that breaks on it. Previous owners just didn’t use her much, and so a wide variety of stuff just goes out. Window regulators. Alternator, battery, alignment, tires…… the list goes in and on. Every week something happens. That’s ok, and I expected as much. The engine, body, interior and tranny all seem good-superb.

It has of course an automatic temp control HVAC system, and and already I have been chasing numerous gremlins. Started with needing a new heater control valve as the floor setting never worked for the heater. That was an easy fix. But now it seems she has vacuum leaks under the dash or in places my good mechanics can’t find under the hood. Leaks that cause the system to do weird stuff, like sending all the air to the defroster under acceleration, and or switching from Heat to ac and back just for a moment. They have run all sorts of vacuum tests under the hood and can’t find the problem.

My questions is this: I have very good vintage car mechanics, but they charge 140/hour and it adds up quickly. And they are not HVAC specialists. They will gladly troubleshoot if I let them. Pull the dash and start poking around. That’s the next step.

Is there not a better way? Does an Ford (or any manufacturer) Vintage HVAC mechanic exist somewhere, someone who already knows the system? Seems to me that the experience curve might be mighty handy here. Something like a Lincoln doctor who is board certified in HVAC. That would be too cool. I can dream, no?

Or should I just stick with the guys I have and hope for the best while paying the man. I live in the Washington DC metro area. I am obviously not capable of doing this myself.

Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T - Image: Honda

TTAC regular David Holzman writes:

Sajeev,

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?

Read More >

By on November 29, 2019

2017 Subaru Outback - Image: Subaru

Citizen Kanine writes:

Is there a good (single?) place to search and discover what year car models updated their drivetrain or added some feature I might want?

I’m looking at a couple of used car options, probably recent cars coming off leases, and am wondering if model year 2016 or 2017 (for example) are significantly different for a Subaru Outback or a Mazda CX-5. All cars change a bit, every year but some stuff I care about (the Skyactiv suspension) and others (new paint colors or the move from 8 speakers to 10) not as much.

I know this information is not impossible to find, but the flood of info and changes for the most recent year can bury the details on models just a few years old. Or maybe I am just using weak GoogleFu. Read More >

By on November 22, 2019

TrueCar

TTAC Commentator ect writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I don’t know if this is strictly within your purview or not, but here goes. I am a dual citizen (U.S. and Canada) currently living in Canada. I will be retiring and moving back to the U.S. within the next (hopefully) few months. My current car (Mercedes B250) is 5 years old, is a model that isn’t/wasn’t sold in the U.S., and has exclusively metric instrumentation, so I plan to sell it in Canada and buy new in the U.S.

The last time I bought a new car in the U.S. was in 1995, and I gather that the world has changed since then. In particular, I understand there are internet-based resources that available to vehicle buyers that help arm them for the “dealer engagement” process. From reading TTAC, I also understand that one pioneer in this area (TrueCar) has gone over to the Dark Side. So, I’m left to wonder what sources I should be consulting for information on how to avoid getting totally shafted.

I also see that companies and groups like Costco and AARP have vehicle buying programs for their members, and wonder how useful these programs actually are.

I’d appreciate your thoughts on the subject, and of course any that the B&B have to offer. Read More >

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