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 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 September 27, 2019

TTAC Commentator mr_mike59 writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve been following you and Sanjeev for many years on TTAC. Until now, I have mostly been interested in your advice and input related to other folks, and their sometimes obscure issues. At this time, however, I feel the need to reach out to look for some much needed advice.

My father-in-law is a Suburban man. Has been for over 35 years now. Unfortunately, the one he has at this point is suffering from some hard to track down electrical gremlins. He currently has a 2008 Suburban with the 5.3-liter and close to 150k on the odometer. For the past 3 winters, on their way to their snow birding location (an on the way home), they have been beset with charging issues that several shops have been unable to properly track down. The car will run fine for a good portion of the trip, with the only indication of a problem being a charging gauge that doesn’t sit still. However, when they are a good 6 or 8 hours into day one of their travels (pulling a 3,500 lb trailer), the voltmeter starts to sag, and all of the electrical systems start to shut down. This has caused them to either spend a fair amount of time on the side of the road, or cost into dealers up and down the east coast. (Read More…)

By on September 20, 2019

vw

Mati writes:

Hello Sajeev!

Just finished reading your Piston Slap entry regarding the 2010 Audi A4, and I want to see what you think about my situation. Recently I relocated to the UK for work/travel and will be here for at least two years. I want to try something not available in the U.S. market and take advantage of the open roads here in the outskirts. I don’t live in a big town so no congestion/pollution tax to worry about.
My budget is £5,000 purchasing price, and my search for an euro hot hatch gave me only one Japanese branded product , some Fords, and a lot of interesting European models. But all around the 10 year mark give or take. In my situation would it be any better to go with an European 10-year-old hot-hatch then, say, a UK-Built Honda or a Ford?
A search on local classified and Bookface nets me a few nice results :
  • 2008 Honda Civic Coupe Type R
  • 2009 Ford Focus ST
  • 2007 RENAULTSPORT CLIO 197 F1 TEAM R27 LY 2.0
  • 2010 Citroen DS3
  • 2010 Peugeot RCZ
  • 2009 VW Scirocco
Looking forward to your reply! Cheers!

(Read More…)

By on September 13, 2019

Image: Audi AG

NW writes:

Hello there Sajeev, hope all is well with you. I have an issue with a 2010 Audi A4; my boyfriend bought this car from a dealership (used). However, he didn’t even have the car six months before realizing there was a piston ring problem — he would have to top up the oil when driving the car. We informed the dealership about it, but they gave us the run-around and did not fix the problem.

The car is financed so he’s still paying for it and has about $9,000 left. The car is completely dead at this point; we know about the cost to fix the car but we’re stuck on what to do with the car. Working to pay to fix the car is a lot within itself and we can’t sell it because we’re still paying for it.

We also contacted Audi but they didn’t help us, really. Any solution to this problem? (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2019

 

snow

TTAC Commentator Arthur Dailey writes (and edited to remove confusion):

Sajeev,

Opening my 2011 Hyundai Sonata’s door this morning after a beautiful overnight snowfall (Yes, it takes that long to answer Piston Slap questions – SM), I once again was confronted with a driver’s seat and inside door panel, covered in snow.

Those living in the snow belt will often park their car at the rink, library, ski hill, mall, at work etc. and return to find it covered in snow. You don’t bring your scraper with you in these situations. And even if you use your glove/arm/hand to clear some of the snow, when you open your door, the residue falls. Onto your power window/mirror/door lock mechanisms. And often onto the seat. You get into your car and start it to warm it up and help clear the windshield. And that residue melts.

This is a re-occurring problem: happening in many other vehicles that I have recently rented/owned. With the sloped roofs now common on cars, snow regularly falls into the passenger compartment when you open the door. There used to be gutters/sills along the edges of car rooflines. In fact I believe that up until the 1960’s they might have been an optional extra, as they were often chromed. Later they were just an integrated part of the roof.

I can’t remember exactly when roofline gutters disappeared from cars, but I understand that this was probably due to aerodynamic issues. I also noticed that there are a number of aftermarket options now available, sometimes referred to as ‘rain guards’.

However why can’t auto designers develop a roofline that prevents snow from dropping onto the car seats whenever the door is opened?

(Read More…)

By on July 3, 2019

truck

Kurt writes:

Hello Sajeev,

Appreciate your postings!  Perhaps in future you or associates can find out why the USA (and by eventual inclusion, rest of world) has become infatuated with Lifted Trucks to point of lifting anything SUV or wagon under the sun (locally, we have folks trying to lift Foresters and Outbacks)?

(Read More…)

By on June 20, 2019

ecoboost

Matt writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I wrote to you a few years ago regarding a water leak in the moonroof of my old 2010 Ford Fusion. I traded that car in 3 years ago on a brand new at the time 2015 Fusion Titanium with the 2.0 Ecoboost and AWD.

I have had this car for 3 years and just rolled over 100,000KM with it. My issue is that under hard acceleration from a low speed or a stop there is a whining noise that sounds like its coming from the front of the car. The whining noise sounds like the whine a supercharger makes. If i accelerate gently there is no noise and if I floor it on the highway there isn’t a noise I can hear either.

It seems to be only a low speed thing and heavy on the throttle that recreates it.

I took the car to the dealership last week while it was under warranty and they claimed it was the turbo and replaced the turbo and a number of associated parts. The car is still making the noise under the same conditions and now my warranty is done. I’ve googled the issue and been on the Ford forums and couldn’t find anything related to the noise i’m experiencing.

Any idea why my turbocharged 2.0 Ecoboost sounds like a supercharged engine?

(Read More…)

By on January 11, 2019

question

Naseem writes:

Sajeev,

I read TTAC every day but have never commented. I’m not as witty as most of your readers. (Don’t sell yourself short! – SM)

Here’s my problem: I have my head screwed on too tight. I have always loved cars and am always shopping for my next car, but I rarely pull the trigger. My wife has a ‘12 Sienna with 40K miles that serves our family (three young kids) well. I drive an ‘04 MDX with 171K miles and I honestly love it. I really want a new car, maybe another MDX, maybe an F-150, but my MDX keeps going and going with little more than routine maintenance. I’m 41, have a good job, am on track for solid retirement savings, college savings and could afford whatever I want but I’m too financially responsible. Why buy a new car if the one I have is just fine — I should just continue to save, right?

So, I need a reason to be irresponsible and buy a new(er) car. Should I get rid of the MDX before it requires a major repair? What other reasons do you have to justify buying a newer vehicle? (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2018

crown vic

Casey writes:

Hey Sajeev,

You once answered one of my questions regarding my Fusion of Malcontent, a car which NEVER stopped giving us issues even after we sold it: the new owner refused to put it into his name and we got many tickets from red light cameras.

Anyway, last month I purchased a beautiful Panther-platform Grand Marquis. I got a good deal on it and it’s in pristine condition with less than 50,000 miles. There are no issues with the car mechanically, but it was previously owned by someone who lived down a long red dirt road. There is dirt EVERYWHERE in the car. It’s in the light assemblies, the dash, pretty much every crevasse that one can think of. 

I’ve begun the long and tiring job of cleaning it, but wondering if you have any tips, suggestions, or ideas about how I should proceed?  

Currently, I’ve cleaned the entire outside of the car, the engine bay, and generally the driver’s area…but every time I look up I swear I find something else that’s covered in red dust.

How do I clean this car so that I can stop obsessing and start enjoying the Panther body that I’ve always dreamed of? (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2018

2008 Chrysler Pacifica Limited AWD, Image: cargurus.com

Folks, I need automotive queries for publication on Piston Slap, my inbox is almost empty! Email [email protected]m so the TTAC community can help.  And yes, ask anything except for car purchasing advise for aforementioned reasons. – SM

Stefan writes:

Sajeev, here’s the latest news regarding our Chrysler Pacifica: it is gone! (Read More…)

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