Hooniverse Asks- Open Forum, What Car-Related Questions do YOU Want to Ask?

Questions

We’re once again offering a very special Hooniverse Asks, one in which I’m not asking you a question, but where instead I’m asking you for questions. That’s right, it’s like reaching Nirvana without all that fussy mountain climbing.  

Here’s how it works: you can ask any automotive question that’s been gnawing at your psyche like a rat on a raisin, and we’ll see if your fellow Hoons can come up with an answer. Of course, we don’t guarantee that it’ll be the right answer. 

There is a depth of automotive knowledge present in here, just waiting to be unleashed. If you’ve got a question – is double clutching the same thing as dutch treating? – you can be assured that one of your fellow Hoons will have the answer.  So since it’s Friday, and you’ve probably already checked out for the weekend even though you may not even be yet at work, let’s see if we can get another impromptu Q&A going and see where it goes.

Image source: AllThingsD 

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128 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- Open Forum, What Car-Related Questions do YOU Want to Ask?”

  1. muthalovin Avatar

    My birthday is on Sunday, and my question is what is the best automotive related gift have you ever received?
    For my 18th birthday, my parents let me have a 1990 Dodge Daytona that blew up shortly there after. Still, awesome time blowing it up.

    1. desolit Avatar

      My Ex rent me an 05 Aston Martin Vantage Vollante. (for all of us that cant or wont buy something that expensive unless it is a house: thats a convertable with the v12). Every once in a while i have to go listen to the start-up in the AM web gallery.
      http://astonmartin.blob.core.windows.net/sitefini

    2. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

      My first car, my beloved '84 Volvo 242DL, was my 16th birthday gift. Nothing has topped that. But on the more affordable side, I got the amazing AutoArt Group A 242 a couple years ago.
      <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-plyxE3OOk1s/TJLnyHdSf3I/AAAAAAAAAko/dE0CV-e7v5M/s350/IMG_20100916_204521.jpg"&gt;
      And the best thing to come out of my last long term relationship, which is automotive related simply due to how I use it.
      <img src="http://i.imgur.com/OzrhNCw.jpg?1&quot; width="350">
      Probably one of the more useful tools I own.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        I have always been jealous of the guys (and gals) who get a car as a gift…because I had to work for everything. And a Volvo as a gift – approved taste!
        Tools are what I am very grateful to receive. A set of vintage high quality pipes I received two years ago is highly appreciated. A test drive in a Volvo for my 19th birthday was a present directly from my local dealership – who knew me well – and my best pal.

        1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

          Yeah, I was really lucky. I actually like to say that I owned the car pretty much my entire life, since I was born in '82, and my parents were the original owners. They bought a 960 and an Explorer, put a fresh coat of paint on the 242 and passed it on to me.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            You know you just one-upped my jealousy with a fresh coat of paint?
            =8^)

            1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

              I wish I had a better picture of it from back in its prime, but the lack of digital camera technology at the time means I have nothing from then on my computer…
              It did look pretty darn good though, if I do say so myself.
              <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-QzzEYZ43mKI/TIchH3U1vtI/AAAAAAAAAjg/OKAPy3TkoFw/s400/image.php.jpg"&gt;

              1. Sjalabais Avatar

                Agreed. I still haven't owned a classic that beautiful. But time will come. 🙂

    3. Tim Odell Avatar

      Events are good. F1 race? Rally?
      Wife gave me my 2011 SoCal TT trip. Was a few days and a few hundred bucks, and a total blast: http://hooniverse.info/2011/10/26/2011-socal-tt-2/
      Second to that: tools. They're literally a gift that keeps on giving.

  2. DonFehlio Avatar

    I actually have two questions
    1) In the first Fast And Furious, Vin Diesel accuses Paul Walker of "granny shifting and not double-clutching like you should". Assuming his Eclipse had a synchromesh gearbox, why is double-clutching better than the regular "clutch in –> shift –> clutch out" method?
    2) What's keeping us from having internal combustion engines using hydrogen as the fuel?

    1. topdeadcentre Avatar

      1) Proper double-clutching technique is the only way that the Millenium Falcon will reach hyperspace, and if they never reach hyperspace, then Brian, Mia, Dominic, Leon and Letty never rescue Han Diesel and save the Galaxie from the Evil JDM Empire.
      2) Fear, mostly. I think.
      <img src="http://static.tumblr.com/29425822e6b42ad78272c3d33a7890d3/1l0ot7i/cyqmh5z62/tumblr_static_oh-the-huge-manatee.jpg&quot; width=300>

    2. pj134 Avatar

      Well… it may come as a surprise but there are some… odd moments in the fast and the furious. Like when the rivets in the floorboard pop out and it starts skidding on the asphalt below or…
      <img src="http://www.miataturbo.net/attachments/dynos-timesheets-21/56692-1-4-mile-stock-motor-223k-miles-ebay-turbo-ssautochrome-12-54@117-8mph-danger20to20manifold-jpg?dateline=1349395427&quot; width=500>
      There isn't a benefit to double clutching a synchromesh transmission as best as I can tell.

    3. Kogashiwa Avatar

      On your second question, there are essentially two reasons. Firstly, most methods of getting hydrogen require putting in as much energy as the hydrogen will provide, so hydrogen is best viewed less as an energy source and more as an energy storage medium. Secondly there's not really a good way to carry it on a vehicle; you can either use very high pressure tanks, or very expensive metal ion storage.
      Running the engine itself is a non-issue. I can't recall why but apparently rotaries are especially well suited to running on hydrogen.
      <img src="http://response.jp/imgs/feed_l/89263.jpg"&gt;

    4. Devin Avatar

      I think the answer to one is that director Rob Cohen doesn't actually know how cars work, in spite of making movies about car chases. Like the opening of xXx, where the car goes in reverse in spite of being put in a gear that is not reverse.
      [youtube afxTROGnvkw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afxTROGnvkw youtube]
      I think it's like how in CSI and Law and Order the writers put tech stuff that's clearly nonsense to see what they can get past the higher ups. But with driving.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        "Video games…blabla…because it's the only education we got"
        …no keyboard in a car, how could he know which gear is reverse? Cool stunt though.

      2. HTWHLS Avatar

        Nailed it!! Just like that dumbshit line about blowing the welds on the intake..

  3. racer139 Avatar

    I have the answer for all questions and it is "Miata". Though I have never figured out why this is always the answer.

    1. FЯeeMan Avatar

      There is a certain gentleman who would argue that the answer for all questions is "NSX".
      At our house, however, the answer to all questions is 42. Therefore, that is the correct question.

      1. Kogashiwa Avatar

        Therefore NSX = 42.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Lets twist this a bit and add a zero…because we can.
          <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3050/2722424825_99d08dcd2d_o.jpg&quot; width="600">

          1. racer139 Avatar

            I really like this answer.

    2. P161911 Avatar

      No, no, sometimes the answer is E30.

  4. I_Borgward Avatar

    What is the best veteran car of the new millennium?
    Name a car made in this century that is the equivalent to a RWD Volvo with a red block motor, or a Plymouth Valiant with a Slant Six. Tough as nails, reliable as an old mule, with decent parts support, able to be repaired by a motivated owner.
    My pair of early 80's 240's can't last forever! What's the next big thing that will allow a DIY hoon like me to step into the modern era?

    1. TurboBrick Avatar

      Lincoln Town Car. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
      EDIT: I wonder if you're struggling with the same issues I am. I look at new stuff, I look at my 760, and I just go back to driving it some more, trying to find out exactly how long will a B230FT+AW71 combo run. There just doesn't seem to be a really compelling case for getting something else.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Lincoln Town Car? Let me counter this through advertisement, and from your edit I understand we can high five and pop a beer in agreement.
        <img src="http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/4580/r636.jpg&quot; width="600">

        1. TurboBrick Avatar

          I've always thought that 740 = Crown Victoria, 760 = Town Car. One retailed almost double over the other, both shared same greasy bits except for the suspension and one of them makes a great (depreciated) second hand luxury car for an owner who doesn't mind the grandpa image. Old Volvos are cheap cars as long as you don't have to drive too much and don't get spooked by occasional electrical hiccup. Anything you lose at the pump you recoup in servicing costs.

      2. I_Borgward Avatar

        Turbobrick: Yep, pretty much, although for me, "new stuff" would be anything less than 10 years old! I've come to the conclusion that you don't buy a red block so much as rent it. It's the plastic and electronic bits that will eventually take a 240 off the road, and I'm thinking ahead to a time when I won't be able to find another K-Jet car in the boneyard to pick over for parts.
        I had a bug for an NA Miata earlier this summer, but resisted the siren call (not easy for me). And indeed, I just haven't found a compelling case for another ride, so I gave my 245 a nice cleaning, changed its oil and am going to replace its cracked windshield. It's like revisiting an old flame, and I am content for now. But, nothing lasts forever, thus my question!

        1. TurboBrick Avatar

          Yes! You just about described my situation. Isn't it nice to know you're not the only lunatic on the internets?
          I don't have anything less than 15 years old on my driveway so our concept of "new" is pretty much the same. I'm seeing the 850 series becoming the most common model to come across at the junkyard and the 760 "mark 2" was always an odd duck anyways. I also have a 945T as a backup. Right now everything is fine but I don't know how much longer this is sustainable with about 250K on both turbochargers and transmissions.
          Three or four choices keep popping into my mind. Miata has been #1 for me as well, much to the displeasure of my wife who feels that it's not a suitable vehicle for taking the kid to school. #2, Civic HX, you know then ones with the lean burn engine? The owners don't seem to be in a selling mood because they are few and far in between. #3, another Volvo, C70 hardtop or S60, but it seems that every Volvo owner out there drives 20K / yr and they're all really worn out. Or just eff it all and go with #4, Town Car, except my wife hates this choice even more than the Miata. The only brand new thing I can even envision paying for would be a base model Fiat 500.
          Early June I was really gung ho for switching something out. But, as you did, I settled for a good cleanup and putting a decor panel between the tail lights. Better to buy convertibles in December anyways.

    2. MrHowser Avatar

      2000 Honda CIvic
      2001 Cherokee
      Base-model early-aughts pickup of your choice.

      1. I_Borgward Avatar

        Hmmm… a good assortment. I'd consider a Ranger, except that I've already got an Econoline for trucky-type use.

    3. Kogashiwa Avatar

      Thinking about this and concluding I might actually already own it.
      <img src="http://ericfilcoff.com/pictures/is300_45.jpg"&gt;
      The 2JZ-GE is one of the strongest built most reliable engines ever made. It's RWD. Electronics are relatively simple. Nothing complex about the suspension either. Meets all four requirements you stated.
      The thing is now that even basic vehicles come with an alphabet soup of safety and convenience stuff tacked on, to get rid of features (read: problems-in-waiting) you have to go with really cheap cars and then build quality suffers.

      1. TurboBrick Avatar

        Ok, I'm intrigued now. I see there are stick shifts available too, they seem to hold on to their value and a lot of them appear to be questionably modified / beat up… so basically it's a Japanese BMW 330i?

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          …so basically it's a Japanese BMW 330i?
          You just made a four digit number of Lexus engineers cry tears of joy.

          1. FЯeeMan Avatar

            17.46?

            1. Sjalabais Avatar

              Did I mess up my point? 😮

          1. Tim Odell Avatar

            AT only on the longroofs.

            1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

              Figures… Should be an easy conversion though, since I'm sure everything forward of the B pillar is the same.

        2. Kogashiwa Avatar

          Sort of … the thing about the IS300 was it wasn't particularly designed as a Lexus, it was more a case of "oh those Lexus guys want a small car" "let's just put a leather interior in the Altezza and call it good" which is why it's as uncomplicated as it is.* And the Altezza was meant as a compact (well, mid size in Japan) sport sedan, not really a luxury car, hence it's top model being a four cylinder and usually manual.
          *may be partly my own theory

      2. I_Borgward Avatar

        Hm! I never would have considered a Lexus! I usually shy away from more recent luxomobiles over the problems-in-waiting features you mention, but I will have to keep an eye out for this one.

      1. I_Borgward Avatar

        Aaaagh! That makes me gasp in horror as well… that is, if I could summon up enough emotion for it. There certainly are a lot of the buggers out there, though, and time may ultimately prove it to be more "veteran" than any of us would care to admit.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          We just got one of those '02 models cheaply. It is a well-optioned car, and as sceptical as I was to start with…I actually like it a lot now. Driving it fast around corners is like trying to float a cake on water, but it does everything else surprisingly well. I feel a bit like Mr. Novy did back in 1978.
          <img src="http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/8850/5jay.jpg&quot; width="600">

  5. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    What's the most expensive garage/shop tool you can't live without?

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      A good torque wrench?

    2. McQueen Avatar

      Timing light

    3. GTXcellent Avatar

      first thought is a truck and a trailer, but realistically an air compressor or a good welder.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        Definitely an air compressor and a welder – still need to get those.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          I bought a 2.4 Litre air compressor on sale and it really wasn't expensive at all. Cheap China Chit, but it works for my use. Even though I have to confess it is the most fun while renovating the house. Shooting nails like a mad man.

          1. BobWellington Avatar

            Even the $1000 ones have motors made in Mexico…which is kind of sad considering they are $1000 air compressors. They can only claim to be "assembled in USA" instead of made in.

            1. Sjalabais Avatar

              Exactly! Remove a zero and that's what I paid + hoses & tools.

      2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        Both of which I have purchased in the past couple of years, and couldn't agree more. The only other one I would add would be a drill press, but you can get by with a cheap drill press — welder and air compressor not so much.

    4. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

      One I only recently realized: A good cordless impact wrench. I can't tell you how many times that's helped, both at home and the junkyard.

      1. Tim Odell Avatar

        That and an in-garage lift like the only big-ticket items I really lust for.

    5. Kogashiwa Avatar

      A good heater. Useless of course without insulation in your garage. Neither of which I have.

  6. Gooberpeaz Avatar

    I heard somewhere that NASCAR drivers use the clutch to start from a dead stop, but then shift without while underway. Is true? If so, what is the black art behind this practice? Am I just woefully clueless? Why am I asking all these questions?

    1. MVEilenstein Avatar

      Rev matching. The 4-speed transmissions they use today can be shifted without engaging the clutch.

      1. racer139 Avatar

        This can also be done effectivly with almost (probably all but I havent tried) manual transmissions. When shifting up through the gears pull it out of gear apply light presur on the throttle and gently push into the next gear. For gearing down pull out of gear and match the revs and apply ligbt pressure to the next gear down. Of course it helps to practice this on beaters as it takes a bit of practice, the only time I use the clutch now is to take off in first or if Im driving somone elses car.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      I don't know about NASCAR but shifting without the clutch is common in GP roadracing.

      1. Gooberpeaz Avatar

        NASCAR still uses gearboxes with real gear levers and not a paddle shift set up.

        1. MVEilenstein Avatar

          Here's something that might answer your question. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090

        2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

          I meant MotoGP. I need to remember that some guys still mess around with those 4-wheel racers.
          <img src="http://www.motorbiketimes.com/photo/could-ssg-push-yamaha-ahead-of-honda–$7068717$326.jpg"&gt;

    3. Manic_King Avatar

      Clutchlesss shifting with a normal manual car: http://www.autoblog.com/2007/07/16/video-autoblog
      AFAIK rev matching and clutchless shifting are different things. When racing on track rev matching is needed but you would still use the clutch. Maybe NASCAR gearboxes are just strong enough for clutchless shifting.
      About rev matching: http://www.drivingfast.net/car-control/rev-matchi

    4. JayP2112 Avatar

      NASCAR transmissions only need to last 500 miles or 500 laps- which ever comes first

  7. MVEilenstein Avatar

    My truck is starting to ride a little rougher than I like, and the front wheels are hopping too much over bumps. I suspect worn shocks.
    Where should I start shopping? Also, what does the install process look like?

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      The F-150? I never changed the original shocks on my '95, and they went 214,000 miles. It still rode great when I traded it in.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        The Ford shocks (that's why I recommend) are $46.95 for the fronts, and the rears are $59.73. This is from where I used to buy all my parts online, and the dealer is in your neck or the woods (in Tacoma).

        1. MVEilenstein Avatar

          Good information. Much cheaper than I thought.

      2. MVEilenstein Avatar

        Yep. Maybe it's not the shocks, but I've definitely noticed a gradual change the last few months.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          That's Titus-Will Ford, by the way, where I used to order my Ford parts. How many miles? If you notice a rattle or clunk from the front end when going over a bump, it could also be a bad radius arm bushing. I never had to replace the one on the passenger side, but I had to replace the one on the driver's side twice. The stock bushing is poly, and that's what the correct replacement is. It's easy to tell if one is wearing out, because you'll see shiny metal on the radius arm bracket, indicating that the bushing and the radius arm are loose, and shifting as you drive.
          When they get really loose you'll hear a clunk when you hit the brakes, from the arm moving around in the bracket.
          Here's what is looks like:
          <img src="http://www.batauto.com/articles/ford/8.JPG"&gt;
          On mine, the bracket was held on with a combination of Grade 8 hardware, and rivets. I drilled and popped the rivets out and replaced with Grade 8 hardware.

          1. MVEilenstein Avatar

            This is good stuff. Thanks for sharing. I'll stick my head under this weekend, providing it doesn't rain.

    2. Tim Odell Avatar

      Bounce on the fender for a shock test. Feels soft? Keeps oscillating after you do it = new shocks.
      It's an easy install. Most of the time it's a total of 4 bolts. If they're inside the coils, you might need to rent a coil compressor, still no big deal.

      1. MVEilenstein Avatar

        I remember that old trick now. I'll give it a try this weekend, as well. Been driving the Focus all week, giving the F-150 (and my wallet) a well-deserved break.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          On that, it's outside of the spring.

    3. JayP2112 Avatar

      I've had great luck finding videos on YouTube for the Fords. Everything is on the internets.

      1. MVEilenstein Avatar

        That is fact.

  8. marmer01 Avatar

    I've wondered about hydrogen for a very long time, as it translates reasonably well to both modern internal combustion engine design and oil and gas infrastructure, plus, no carbon! I think the one over-riding simple answer is that it's too cheap and easy to keep burning liquid fuel to make the infrastructure investment.
    Here are some of the other concerns:
    Cars do require significant alterations to the fuel system to prevent leaks, and hydrogen can be corrosive.
    Hydrogen gives you about 30 percent less energy than the equivalent amount of gasoline.
    On-board storage of hydrogen in quantities sufficient to provide acceptable range is not a really mature system yet.
    Electrolysis to create hydrogen requires a lot of electricity and we don't have that capacity.
    Plus, there's a lot of fear about it although it's not like gasoline isn't explosive, too, and we don't have cars blowing up every day. (or if we do, it's not widely reported.)

    1. jeepjeff Avatar

      It doesn't translate to current infrastructure well at all. As Kogashiwa mentioned up thread, there are multiple ways to store (he mentioned two, I can think of three), and none of them are cheap or simple. Handling compressed gases and cryogenic liquids is way different from a simple flammable liquid.
      Also, it isn't necessarily carbon free. The bus system in my corner of the world runs some of the buses on hydrogen. The point is smog reduction, not greenhouse gas reduction, so one of the stations steam reforms methane, while one uses electrolysis. This process is much easier (and much cheaper) than electrolysis. All the environmentalists who boost hydrogen talk about electrolysis, but the businessmen are going to start with methane. Which makes that hydrogen just a super clean burning fossil fuel.

  9. Dutch Avatar

    Why do the auto makers release recalls before there is parts available?

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Liability, I assume – at least getting the warning out to people that there is an issue to be cautious of, and then if an accident happens, well, the owner knew of the potential danger and disregarded it.

  10. wisc47 Avatar

    If you had around 10k to spend on a reliable car that is also fun to drive, and will work in the snow, what would you buy that isn't a WRX?

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      My insight into American car prices is limited to "oh, cheap!", but I guess ten k buys you five letters and to numbers?
      <img src="http://www.imcdb.org/i037045.jpg&quot; width="600">

      1. topdeadcentre Avatar

        Tasty!
        (note the uncommon Flash Green paint and what looks like the orangey-colored but superb Atacama leather seats)

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          I think the first batch all looked like this? Volvo probably tried to spark another trend with the turquoise colour, after they started a golden-cars-trend with the C70. Fortunately, they failed. The interior is fantastic, though.

      2. wisc47 Avatar

        Good answer. You can find an earlier model and high milage one for around 8-9k, however I've heard some real horror stories so I'm a little scared to go down this route.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          It was one of the first cars with an active chassis, and I remember some troubles with cars that would "jump" in corners. Anyway, a top-of-the-line car will be expensive to keep. What really appeals to me, maybe especially with the V70R, is the "stealth" or sleeper factor. It looks like an ordinary, rational car, but it's incredibly quick. Couldn't believe it when I test drove the V70R back in 2004. This series' S60 is one of the most beautiful cars Volvo has made, imho. Newer models from this manufacturer are a bit too fancy and not really cheap to keep running anymore.

    2. MVEilenstein Avatar

      My Focus has never left me stranded. I would seriously consider another 04 ZX5.

      1. wisc47 Avatar

        Honestly, an All-Trac would be perfect but there aren't many for sale around me. If there was one nearby I would probably pick it up, assuming it hasn't already been hooned to death. That's my job.

  11. racer139 Avatar

    I have just recharged the a/c in my 05 alero (free, low mileage, clean inside and out 5speed) beater. It blows cold for about an hour after startup(enougb to freeze you out of the car) but after this it is less effective. Im woundering if it may just need more refrigerent added. It has no leaks and blows ice cold for the first 45 or so minutes. What does everyone else think? The car is in good shape, but like I said it was free and being an alero im not about to sink a bunch of cash into it, just drive it untill It dies.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      An orifice tube that clogs up after awhile? I've seen cars do this. The orifice will get plugged with trash (from the compressor), and then after you shut it off and pressures equalize (that hissing sound you hear after turning it off, the blockage clears itself.

      1. racer139 Avatar

        No hissing sound and it will freeze me out for the first 45 or so minutes. I dont think there is a blockage.

    2. Tim Odell Avatar

      That doesn't sound like a refrigerant leak, which would be permanent.
      Two thoughts:
      1) Temp sensor drift. Whatever you car uses to decide how cold it blows is wonky. Different cars and mfg's have different ways of doing it.
      2) Compressor, condenser or evaporator heat up over time.
      Evap is buried under the dash, and that's what makes it cold. Might be icing up.
      Condenser is by your radiator, might be getting too hot
      Compressor is attached to motor, might be overheating or have the magnetic clutch slipping or otherwise failing <—Clutch is near the top of my list.

      1. racer139 Avatar

        The car does not have climate control, just good old fashion nobs, the fan is not automatic so I dont know if there is a sensor.It does get some condensation around the center vents as it becomess less effective. Lastly the system pulls 40 in/lbs of vacum so I doubt their is a leak. Im going to check the compressor and the condensor and clutch qnd belt tonight Ill post my my findings tommorow morning as Im off to watch some local racing.

  12. LEROOOY Avatar

    This has always been a bizarre-engineering thought exercise for me, wanted to run it by other Hooniversalists.
    Let's say I take a BOF 4WD SUV, I'll submit my favorite: A 1995 Pathfinder. I take this Pathfinder, put a 2WD transmission on it, and replace the transfer case with an electric motor from, maybe, a forklift. So now I have back wheels powered by gas, front powered by electricity. I put two or three lead-acid batteries somewhere in the car, and install a heavy-duty alternator to charge them while the car is running, and leave an electrical connection on the car to steal electricity from public outlets.
    So now I have a Pathfinder "Hybrid" that is still 4WD, and not adorned with stickers or any other such nonsense to announce my intentions to people that would misconstrue them. It will still pollute the world through its leaking exhaust manifolds. I am just cheap, and want an old SUV that doesn't get 15 MPG.
    So I use one pedal, let's say, to the right of and behind the gas pedal, to electromote myself up to perhaps 15-20 mph at every traffic light, at which point I let in the clutch and pick right up on gas power in second gear. Am I getting better gas mileage? Can I silently sneak up on people? Can I still offroad it? This is much more fun to think about than adding horsepower.

    1. skitter Avatar

      First, let me say that if it's also set up to run the gasoline motor as a generator, so you can continue to drive on electric power at more elevated speeds, I really like this model.
      Let me answer your questions in reverse order:
      Can I still offroad it? Yes. Fording ability may be reduced.
      Can I silently sneak up on people? As long as they're not very far away.
      Am I getting better gas mileage? Maybe. You're carrying extra weight around in the electric motor and batteries. Unlike a more modern car, you don't have a great start-stop system, so your engine continues to idle while creeping in traffic or away from a stop. If you can get a powerful enough generator and motor, then you could theoretically put your engine at it's efficiency sweet-spot for whatever power is needed. You probably will have most of the same drivetrain losses from flat towing your rear axle and transmission all the time. To actually have gains from plug in charging, it's all down to the batteries, like every electric car.

    2. Tim Odell Avatar

      Without any regenerative braking, the only energy gains you're making come from the amount of charge you can put in overnight. A small pile of batteries won't provide much.
      Charging the batteries off of the alternator means you're still burning fuel, turning it into electricity, storing and extracting it from the batteries. Each "ing" in that sentence comes with an efficiency drop.
      It's one of those things where it's totally doable, but probably not worth doing in the face of other options available.

    3. smokyburnout Avatar

      I toyed with a similar idea back when I was driving a Jeep Cherokee. I had a few stupid twists on it, like replacing the inline six with the 2.5L 4 because there'd be more space underhood for batteries (yeah, right) and the electric motor would be controlled by a hand throttle because somehow that'd be simpler.

  13. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    On the Town Cow, I feel a slight but noticeable clunk through the steering column when I transition from accel to decel and vice-versa. Don't have a clue what the issue would be. I don't feel anything over bumps, only when the stress load on something, somewhere changes between speeding up and slowing down, and only through the wheel, not the floorboards. Something worn in the suspension, I suppose, but what???

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Is it recirculating ball steering? I couldn't remember. If so, maybe a bad tie rod end, drag link, or idler arm.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        Wouldn't I feel the clunk or some slop when transitioning from right to left turns, and with the steering on center? The steering seems tight.

    2. LTDScott Avatar

      Could be a slightly worn engine mount, allowing the engine to move just enough to contact the steering shaft and/or steering box. I had a similar issue on my LTD.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        Ah, that makes a perfect sense!

  14. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    New domestic full-size pickup: would you go Silverado, Ram or F-Series?

    1. LEROOOY Avatar

      All three just seem to be screaming: "HEY LOOK AT HOW BIG I AM," so I would go with Silverado, because I have always perceived it to be the lightest. Also, Ford's turbochargers are scary, I'll wait a decade for them to take the engineering punishment that results from such a ballsy move.
      Edit: Do any of these guys still make a single-cab longbed? I'd take that, all my dream truck duties revolve around cargo volume, not weight.

      1. MVEilenstein Avatar

        I think they all do.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      I owned a Ford for a long time, so I would tend that way. However, I know there are a zillion EcoBoost trucks out there (I see tons of them), but I'm still not convinced about the long term durability. I never was crazy about the modular V8s (read way too many bad things about them on the technician forums), and I don't know much about the 5.0 Coyote motors. The Chevys are supposed to be pretty bulletproof. And I'm excited about the 3.0 diesel RAM is offering for 2014.

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        I LOVE my Ecoboost. Crew cab, long box (6.5 ft), 4 wheel drive, and I average about 18 mpg combined. Hwy I've gotten close to 30 once or twice (granted I had a hell of a tail wind). These are calculated numbers, not just the truck's readout. Even pulling my boat or car trailer I get close to 15 mpg. I've had it a year and half (although only 14,000 miles) and the only issue was a battery replaced under warranty. Compared to the Dodge I replaced it with – night and day difference. I guess long-term durability is yet to be determined, but I'm not that worried.

    3. MVEilenstein Avatar

      For a good time, head over to pickuptrucks.com and watch the fur fly when you ask that question. I think some of those guys would literally draw blood in defense of their beloved, if they could.

    4. MVEilenstein Avatar

      I wouldn't; but if I had to, I would get an F-150 XLT.

    5. Tim Odell Avatar

      Half ton? Ram.
      3/4 ton? Toss up between Ram and GM.
      Dodge trucks get a bad rap, but the three I've had in my life all did truck stuff wonderfully. Heavy-duty GM stuff does great. Light-duty not so much.
      Just never really liked Ford trucks of the last…oh…35 years or so.

      1. MVEilenstein Avatar

        Them's fightin words.

    6. BobWellington Avatar

      F-Series

  15. Tim Odell Avatar

    Wagoneer Carb VS EFI quagmire:
    Has a 2V Rochester 2GC that I just rebuilt…still runs like poo. At the end of the day I'm not all about massive power so much as driveability: less warm up, more efficiency, mid-throttle response and running at an angle offroad. Additional context: my Buick 350 still runs hotter than I want and leaks more oil than I want. Probably needs the timing cover, intake manifold and oil pan re-sealed.
    Should I:
    1) Keep my 2V intake and
    1a) Swap in the biggest Motorcraft 2100 I can find, proportedly the best 2V carb ever, especially for trucks
    1b) Get a $600 GM TBI setup from these guys: LINK
    1c) Do my own GM TBI + Megasquirt setup like this: LINK
    1d) Get a Holley Avenger 2BBL system for like $1800 LINK
    2) Swap in to 4V intake ($100 for a OEM iron or $350 for a nice aftermarket aluminum) and
    2a) add a Q-jet (said to be "poor man's EFI") for about $300 for a refurb?
    2b) one of the newish TBI EFI systems from FAST, Holley, MSD or Accell? to the tune of $2k.
    3) Say fnck this semi-originality and
    3a) Get the drivetrain from something newer like a TBI Suburban or Ford pickup and end up with EFI, overdrive and a motor they still make parts for. Seems extreme, but by the time I'm done with any of the above…
    3b) Forget the Wagoneer and just get the Suburban. A 1991 3/4 ton with TBI 350 and 4L80e in particular.

  16. BobWellington Avatar

    I've never driven a manual car before, only a manual tractor. No one around me has a manual, much less one that I would be allowed to drive. No rental places have manuals anymore. What is a lad to do (that doesn't involve buying a car)?

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Does your girl want to see Paris?

      1. BobWellington Avatar

        There's only one thing missing for that to be a possibility…:P

    2. Tim Odell Avatar

      I'd be $5 someone here could help you.
      Location?

      1. BobWellington Avatar

        Eh…I'm not exactly willing to meet up with any strangers over the internet. 😛

    3. racer139 Avatar

      Buy a beater car and learn. Its cheaper than a clutch replacment on a friends car and a car that you do not care about can be a whole bunch of fun.

      1. BobWellington Avatar

        That's probably the best option.

    4. Maymar Avatar

      The only other possibility I can think of is learning to ride a motorcycle – granted, you're clutching with your hand, but the principles are the same (I also found it helped me a lot in driving stick). Of course, you're still out $100 or so for the helmet (that's discounting buying any other proper gear, because you may already own something that'll do for a weekend of riding in a parking lot, re. boots, gloves, and jacket). and another few hundred for the course, but it's something.

      1. BobWellington Avatar

        I think my best option now is to get my own car with a manual. Though my aunt may get a manual in her next car, and I could learn on that. But that's only if.

    5. Vairship Avatar

      are there any driving schools around that'll teach you on their cars?

      1. BobWellington Avatar

        None that I know of.

  17. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    A while back, Anti mentioned nourishing leather. What'd he do to bring it back? I've got this friend who has this car, and it has this problem…
    Also, does this look infected?

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