Piston Slap: A Self-defeating Technology Disorder?

Felix writes:

Got a Mazda 3 hatch to replace my 29-year-old MR2, and while it’s no MR2, it has its own benefits. But I detest Hill Launch Assist, and the power steering is the biggest reminder that it’s no MR2.

The Mazda power steering is better than I expected, but it’s still the first thing I notice when I start it up and always makes me want the MR2 back, three years later. I tried turning the engine off on a private road with just enough slope to keep moving, and it’s kind of scary to imagine that happening on a freeway, it’s so stiff and jerky. Is there any way to disable it and having just plain manual steering, to see what it’s like?

As for Hill Assist, what annoys me the most is not knowing if a slope is enough to trigger it or not; if I expect it, and it didn’t engage, there’s a tire chirp for no reason, and if I don’t expect it but it did engage, I sometimes kill the engine unless I’m paying attention. I can understand its attraction for weenies who are just learning stick, but I don’t need it and don’t want it.

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Piston Slap: ND Verdict on Electric Power Steering?

San writes:

I have been interested in the Mazda MX-5 for a while now. I had a few questions based upon my interest in the 2016 MX-5.

Mazda has also decided to switch from hydraulic steering to electric steering in the MX-5. In a niche enthusiast vehicle, is there any reason that this is happening? All I read about are enthusiast reviews about how numb electric steering is in cars, and Mazda makes this change in the face of all the criticism. Is it just CAFE laws? Or is there another reason that escapes me?

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Piston Slap: A Fusion of Malcontent?

Casey writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I love your column! Anyway long story short I’m an idiot. When I met my wife she had a 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac that was in ROUGH shape inside and out, cosmetically and mechanically. She liked her truck though and it worked for us for a few years. Recently we (I) was tired of it. So I traded it in on a 2006 Ford Fusion SEL V6. It’s a beautiful car, black on black, lots of power and nice ride. I paid $7,200 for it with 108,000 miles.

The problem is, only about 5 months into ownership and 4,000 miles later several issues have revealed themselves.

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Piston Slap: Divorced Sleeper Flew The Coupe?

TTAC Commentator raresleeper writes:

Hello, Sajeev!

I need your wisdom and sound advice, Kind Sir. After what could be called a much needed separation from my wife (undoubtedly the beginning of a very long divorce proceeding), I purchased myself a vehicle. A 2006 Accord Coupe v6 6-Speed.

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Piston Slap: The E-Z Out for My BMW, Minivan

TTAC regular psarhjinian writes:

I just bought a E46 3-Series that needs some care (hey, it was cheap!) and snapped off both bolts holding the alternator to (I think) the oil filter housing. I’ve gotten the alernator off, but the last inch-or-so of the threaded section of one bolt is broken off. Thank you, BMW for using steel bolts in an aluminum block.

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Saturn Ion Steering Woes Focus Of NHTSA Probe
Piston Slap: Better Steering Without the Better Car?

Oliver writes:

Sajeev,

In December of 2011, through an unfortunate chain of events, I became the not-so-proud owner of a 2007 Malibu. True to its origin as an ex-fleet car, it is saddled with the miserly 4-banger engine rather than the still-slow-but-adequate V6. The only positive attributes of this car are its cheap cost to own and excellent fuel economy for its size. It presently has about 80,000 miles on it – I expect to get another 40K out of it before the transmission implodes (domestic automatic – you get what you pay for).

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Piston Slap: The Heat Is On!

Ramin writes:

Sajeev,

I am not a TTAC member, but I read it almost daily. I suppose I should join soon. Anyway having read your “piston slap: we need your help” post, I have one that has been stumping me for about a year now:

The car is an 08 Impreza STI. For the past year or so, the power steering struggles and whines. It is much worse when the car is cold, doubly so when the weather and the car are cold. There is no belt squeal. I have tried flushing and bleeding, both with factory fluid and also with the Lucas stop-leak stuff. Modest initial improvement only lasts a little while. Subaru forum posts suggest the STI cooks its PS fluid because the fluid lines route near hot turbo components. However it seems now even with fresh fluid, the problem persists, leading me to suspect a component has gone bad. I don’t want to drop over $600 for a new pump. Are there any tricks you know of, like for example, replacing a particular gasket? Or, better yet, some advice on narrowing down exactly what the culprit is (short of replacing the whole freaking pump)?

Thanks a lot and keep up the good work – I love the site and what you all have done with it.

Sajeev answers:

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Who's Afraid Of Electric Power Steering?

Here’s a challenge: try to find a review of the Toyota Corolla that doesn’t bemoan its numb steering. Now try with a Chevy Cobalt. Or a Venza, or Vibe, Or Rav4, or Equinox. What do these vehicles have in common? Column-mounted electric power steering systems from JTEKT, a Toyota spin-off supplier which has done a brisk business in these fun-eliminating steering systems. And though the motor press has been bashing electric power assist steering (EPAS or EPS) for its deleterious effect on handling, the explosive growth in these systems may put more at risk than mere enthusiast-approved steering feel.

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  • Redapple2 UAW - Already overpaid. Relevant question. What are the transplants paid? Honda, Toyota, Nissan, VW. What about Tesla? What about Tier 1 and 2 auto suppliers. UAW should have been smashed when GM and FCA went bankrupt.
  • Redapple2 TV screens to run everything instead of knobs. Turbo 4 that poorly does the job of a V 6. I think i will turn away from new product and preserve what I have for 15 years. I m reaching that point.
  • Redapple2 Air tags are cheap, if you must
  • Teddyc73 "While this may simply be the result of electric sales reaching peak saturation until technological improvements, emissions regulations or novel designs move the needle forward" You mean until Democrats using their lies about the climate change hoax further sabotage the oil industry forcing us into EVs.
  • Chris Doering I have a decent 78 xe lots of potential