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What’s Your Automotive News for the Week?

Greg Kachadurian October 13, 2017 The News! 37 Comments

Hi. On a normal week this time slot is filled with a hastily-written recap of the week’s automotive news. Sadly, this is not a normal week for your friendly internet news editor. I started a new job which, at least for now, has made all my free time disappear. That was made worse by the fact that… uh, not much happened that was worth talking about.

If you’re still looking for some reading material, you can check out Autoweek’s coverage of the 2019 Range Rover (non-Sport) updates, Porsche’s “Passport” subscription plan, and something about mid-engine Corvette spy shots that you’ve surely seen by now.

Things should stabilize again next week, but in the meantime sound off with any updates you want to share with your fellow hoons. Doesn’t matter if you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything (we especially wanna hear about that), or otherwise did anything even remotely car related – it belongs here.

[Image © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

  • Alff

    After replacing numerous driveline and suspension components on my Legacy GT wagon, it drives much better but still has an annoying shimmy. Finally traced it to a bent rim. This is the downside of letting your kids drive your car.

  • Barn find: My local P-chapter has found a barn we can improve (add lifts, shelves, a sofa and a heating) and use for storage (above my budget), long term repair projects (above my budget) and drop in lift usage (okay for me, once the clutch is due I guess).
    There will also be equipment for changing tires (that’s rubber off/onto the rims), I declared myself as apprentice tire monger.
    I’m always amazed how nice the 911 people here (N) are, more like the German transaxle fans, rather than 997-displaying people I had the disputable pleasure to talk to in Germany.

  • P161911

    The good news is that I got to drive the Richard B. Russel Parkway in the North Georgia Mountains. The bad news it was in the Volt. The good news is that when you put the Volt in “Mountain” mode, the battery got 16 miles of charge on the downhill side. Mountain mode is very strange, there is a total disconnect from throttle input to gas engine RPM.

    Petit Le Mans was good as always.

    • hwyengr

      I picked up a Gen1 Volt a few weeks ago since my public-transit based commute has now morphed into a 60-mile roundtrip.

      On mine, all mountain does is ensure the battery stays at a minimum of half-charge so you are sure to have energy in the battery to draw from to the climb a mountain. The downhill regen should be the same as all the other modes, except for L, of course.

      • P161911

        Mountain will bring the charge from zero back up to half-charge. But it seemed that you had to recharge the car to use that half charge. It was much better driving in Sport mode, even when running on all gas.

    • 1. KSU is hosting a FSAE mock design judging in Marietta on Saturday, Nov. 18th, starting at 10AM. Teams from all over the southeast will attend. Expertise on powertrain development is one of the students biggest requests. It would be great if you could attend from 10 to noon. And if you would like to give a lecture in the afternoon, I’ll get you a classroom.

      2. Is there anyone else in Atlanta that I should be reaching out to for design judging, project management, or data analysis for this event?

      3. I’m about to buy a Volt.

      4. Hope you’ll get in touch: article-free username at green4u dotcom.

      • P161911

        1. I doubt that I will be able to make it. I live on the east side of town, Marietta is a haul. When it comes to automotive, I’m more of a “jack of all trades, master of none”. I have no idea what I could lecture on other than the fact engineering can suck as a career, because for the 5th time since 2014 I’m unemployed and looking for a job.

        2. Have you talked to the local SAE chapter? My good friend is the college liaison for Atlanta SAE. Sterling Skinner had been involved with Georgia Tech’s FSAE program since the beginning, he his in charge of the ME labs at Tech.

        3. Great! I hope you are buying a used one. There are some great deals out there. On about 75% of the car, the level of over engineering is on par with a 1st gen Lexus LS. I guess that is what happens when Bob Lutz is spending the government’s money. Make sure you drive it in Sport mode, it is just a throttle remapping, but it totally changes the character of the car. Also, hold mode is useful if you drive more than the distance of the battery, it lets you choose when to use the battery, you can turn on the gas engine if you are cruising in traffic at 70mph and save the battery for stop and go or city driving. I put almost exactly 25k miles on mine in one year. Averaged just over 80mpg. But that included a trip down to Florida and a few months of not charging while at work. Before the Florida trip I was up in the high 90s. I did find out that cruising at 75-80mph on the interstate it gets closer to 30-32mpg than 35mpg. Don’t forget it is supposed to use premium gas.

        4. I’ll try. My e-mail is (username)@bellsouth.net

  • Greg,
    As I have told you before, you’re blooger now. Nothing else matters: not the job, not the school, not the family and all their bullshit. For when you’re a blooger, you’re free.

    • wunno sev

      greg didn’t choose the blooger life, the blooger life chose greg

      • Monkey10is

        Some are born bloogers, some attain bloogness and some have bloogness thrust upon them…

        • wunno sev

          you merely adopted the bloog. i was born in it, molded by it.

      • Alff

        You’re saying you can’t pick a blooger?

    • Maymar

      Not nearly mushmouthed enough, not talking about fambly. 5/10 Torreto

      • outback_ute

        Something something ten seconds or less…

  • Fuhrman16

    I finally got the Hyundai running again! It all went together rather smoothly. I friend came over to help me drop the engine into the car and we got it installed on the second try (first try was aborted due to someone forgetting to install the backing plate). The exhaust manifold gave me a bit of trouble and I installed the distributor a tooth off, but once I figured those issues out it fired right up. There’s still a few small issues that need to be taken care of, but at least it moves under it’s own power again.
    Had I known it was going to be this easy to swap an engine I would have probably done it sooner.

    • I can tell by the grill and headlights that that’s an ’86 or ’87. Sadly, we had an ’86 Excel GLS.

      • Fuhrman16

        Yep, this is also an ’86 Excel GLS.

  • GTXcellent

    Congrats on the new job (or should I give my condolences?)

    Dealer ranting time! So the Saab is part of the Takata mess. Previously, we were required to have the recall work performed at our nearest Certified Saab Official Service Center. Well, our nearest CSOSC was 6 hours away, so, no the recall hasn’t been performed. Ah, but now we got in the mail a new flyer letting us know that ANY Cadillac Service Center can perform this recall. Bingo! So, I call our nearest Cadillac dealer – Rydell GM in Grand Forks, ND. (This is the headquarters and flagship original dealership of now one of the very largest dealership groups in the country). After some back and forth phone calls, the service writer tells me they can’t do it – has to be a Saab dealer. But my paper says otherwise? Speak to the Service Manager – same story, can’t do it.

    I called Dondelinger GM in Bemidji, MN – parts should be here next week!

    How can a dealership as large as Rydell’s either not know they can do this recall or gave me the runaround because they don’t want to do it? Maybe things have changed, but back in my GM dealer days, the service guys LOVED doing recall work because it paid very good time for the work involved.
    Anyways, long rambling story to let everyone know that I will never do business with Rydell again.

    • Sjalabais

      Odd behaviour, but this whole Takata business is so slow. The airbags in my Honda were swapped in 2012.

    • Loving recall work is one thing. Having too much recall work to do and not being certain to get paid for other recall work, is another thing.

  • I_Borgward


    I’m -this- close to having the entire brake system and front suspension rebuilt on my ’82 240 Turbo wagon. I was dashing toward the finish line when I discovered that GLTs and Turbos came with special strut inserts, no longer available. To use any currently available strut inserts (like the Bilsteins I’d bought), there must be a strut spacer inserted on each side. Problem: the strut spacer insert is also listed as no longer available. Catch 22.

    Another problem: the front suspension is built around the strut tube, and the insert sits at the bottom of it. Until I have inserts or reasonable facsimiles, it doesn’t make sense to reassemble the suspension. Do not pass go.

    I spent several hours over the course of the next week trying to track the devil spacers down. Local contacts all came up short. A dozen different online parts houses had them listed, but every last one turned out to be a dead end. The one that took the cake was the fleabay seller who had a pair up for bid, but didn’t actually have them. “But I can order them!” No, you can’t, you fool. Aaaagh.

    Another option: attempt to dig a pair of inserts out of a junkyard 240. A dubious proposition requiring major disassembly, with the added possibility that the inserts were welded in at the factory (as some were) and not retrievable. I could theoretically swap out strut tubes in that case, but that could easily open up another potential can of worms, or several. Pass.

    Another suggestion: stack up several washers in place of the insert. People do this? Eeeeeek.

    A fellow gearhead generously offered to fabricate inserts for me on his lathe, which probably would have been my choice had I not turned up a pair on a Volvo forum. A guy who runs a Volvo shop saw my post and said he had a few that he’d sell me. Score! They should be in the mail next week.

    • That was lucky, good for you! Converting to/from shock absorber generations, or simply getting the right bushings is a chore for many cars of the 80ies I recon. That’s a benefit of stretching the Lego brick component boxes for lean production, the number of components within say, GM or VW is smaller and the number of vehicles using a given component across decades is higher.
      All my enthusiasm is moot for special editions, top models, and special editions of top models..

      • I_Borgward

        See, this is the very thing that I see happening with current vehicles that concerns me: parts only used for a short period of time, especially anything electronic. Will we be able to get a replacement for Module 1229423 (only made for eight months in 2017), without which the gearshift selector, left rear taillight and Fuzzy Dice Adaptive Mood Lighting Package won’t function? Even then, there will be a guy in Argentina who will sell you a picture of one on fleabay for $75 US.

        • Sjalabais

          The post crash inoperability of Fuzzy Dice Adaptive Mood Lighting Packages will send a lot of cars to the crusher prematurely, too.

        • Looking at the maker folks, I’d say you’ll get an Arduino-based functional equivalent (with 3D-printed housing) for six dollars in parts and hundreds of hours in programming already today. Pity these maker people are busy watching their autonomous drones instead of fixing cars.

  • Maymar

    So last weekend I notice a rattle from the back of the car, like chains. I jack it up, and sure enough, what was once one rear spring is now a rear spring with a separate chunk of rear spring. Also, apparently most parts places don’t seem to carry Mazda2 springs. On the other hand, I have a friend who can get me a set of lowering springs for a decent price, so I guess I’m lowering my car!

    • Vairship

      Do they carry Scion/Toyota iA springs? 😉

  • Quite a bit of automotive change in my household in the past few weeks.

    Bought my wife a 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid.

    Sold my 318ti for nearly 3x what I paid for it (after putting in 4x what I paid for it in parts)

    Sent my daughter’s very tired 1998 Escort to the crusher.

    Bought her a very clean 2003 Protege LX as a replacement.

    So daily driver cars in my household went this summer from 4 to 5 to 6 to 5 to 4 and now back up to 5 in preparation for my youngest getting her license soon. The sum total worth of the lesser 4 is less than the worth of the nicest one.

  • MattC

    Sold my beater truck and bought a 2007 Vibe for my kids first car. I then proceeded to spend an inordinate amount of time looking at Vibe/Matrix forums.

  • Victor

    Since this is an open forum , my complaint is that the media is scrutinizes Tesla far more than any other car company ; They jump on anything and everything. Understood there are personalities involved that are not charismatic but still they are making breakthroughs.