Catalytic Converter Theft: One More Thing To Keep You Up At Night

Posted in Car Care, car modifications, Mechanics, Newsworthy, Police, Safety by Kurt Ernst | November 12th, 2010 | 7 Responses |

Stolen catalytic converters. Photo: KSL

If you drive a lowered MX-5, chances are good you don’t have to worry about getting your catalytic converter stolen. Drive an SUV, on the other hand, and it’s something you may want to think about. All it takes is a tweaker with a battery-powered Sawz-all, and your platinum-rich catalyst can be gone in a few minutes, even if your car is safely parked in your driveway. He gets up to $300 from a metal recycler or scrap yard, and you get a bill from your dealership that ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

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The “Jiffy” Crew: From Assembled to Disassembled in 4 Minutes.

Posted in 4x4, Jeep, Mechanics, Videos by MrAngry | September 10th, 2010 | 1 Response |

Wouldn’t it be great if this is what happened when you brought your car in for service. What you are witnessing here are seven members of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Squad of the Canadian Forces taking an old style Jeep completely apart in about 4 minutes. Keep in mind that from the video there looks as though there has been quite a bit of dis-assembly completed prior to this demonstration. For instance it looks as though there are only 3 lugs on each wheel, there seems to be no antifreeze in the radiator, the body is not bolted to the frame, nor are there any type of engine mounts and or wiring. Either way though watching these guys pull this thing completely apart in no time flat is actually quite impressive. Like I said, wouldn’t it be great if your local dealer worked this way.


Car Guy Basics: How To Find A Good Mechanic

Posted in Car Care, DIY, Featured, Funny, Garage, General, Guide, How To, Maintenance, Mechanics by Kurt Ernst | July 20th, 2010 | 2 Responses |

One of the most common questions I get is, “How can I choose a shop to work on my car?” In some cases, you’re options are extremely limited: drive a Ferrari F40, for example, and chances are you’re not going to find a local mechanic willing to turn a wrench on it. The risk is too high, and even at steep hourly rates, the reward is too low.

I’ve been around cars and bikes my entire life, and spent my impressionable years working in the family garage. It’s gone now, a victim of changing times, but it served the local community for over 60 years. We had generations of customers, some who would even drive in from out of state to get their cars serviced. Why? Because it was a small shop that put an emphasis on quality work and customer satisfaction. That type of business is getting harder and harder to find with each passing year.

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MINI Marketing at its Best: Porsche vs. MINI, the result.

Posted in General, Mechanics, Mini, Police, Politics, Pontiac, Pop Culture, Popular Cars, Porsche, Video Games, Videos by MrAngry | June 23rd, 2010 | 3 Responses |

In a result that should surprise absolutely no one, Porsche bested MINI at the Road Atlanta auto-x / race course by 2 seconds a lap and as MINI put it, that is $38,000 per second as compared to the Porsche’s price tag. Now some of you out there are going to totally crush MINI for even attempting to throw a challenge like this out there, but before you do you need to look a little deeper to see what MINI’s true goal really was.

We all knew, as did MINI that they were going to get their ass handed to them by going up against Porsche, for MINI though it was a true win win situation. First off, look at their demographic. They target male and female middle income buyers who range from ages 18-39. This is a pretty broad spectrum so knowing this MINI chose an opponent for which they knew they could not win against, they did this for a few reasons. First off by challenging Porsche they immediately put themselves in the same class (figuratively speaking of course), second they put themselves out there as the underdog and third they marketed the race virally by utilizing Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, a strategy that’s simply brilliant.

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Valve Springs Bad, Desmodromic Valves Good

Posted in Bizarre, Cool Stuff, Ducati, Engines, FAIL, Grand Prix, Mechanics, Videos by Kurt Ernst | May 16th, 2010 | Leave a Reply |

This 1981 video is chock full of gear head goodness: a Cosworth engineer explains the problems of high speed valve operation, then shows what happens to a Cosworth DFV motor when an intake valve spring breaks, Good stuff, and a great example of why we change timing belts punctually on interference type motors.

I love his pitch for desmodromic valve actuation at the end of the video, accompanied by some all-internal Ducati motor porn.

Found on Bangshift

U.S. States Crack Down On Car Warranty Vendors

Posted in auto industry, Car Accessories, General, Mechanics, Newsworthy, Repair, Used Cars by Kurt Ernst | May 7th, 2010 | Leave a Reply |

Eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia are pursuing legal action against vendors of extended car warranties, including U.S. Fidelis, Credexx Corporation and Auto One. At issue are misleading statements that describe service contracts (what these companies are actually selling) as extended warranties. Service contracts have a different legal definition than warranties and do not meet the same standards. What does this mean for the consumer? It’s likely that one of these plans won’t cover every repair you expect it to.
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Mr. Frugal Presents The Five Most Cost Effective Car Mods

Posted in Car Accessories, car modifications, Featured, General, Mechanics by Kurt Ernst | April 6th, 2010 | 20 Responses |

Mazdaspeed springs & swaybars, Flyin' Miata exhaust

Times are tough, and everybody I know is trying to save as much money as they can. What do you do if you’re a gearhead looking to improve your ride on a budget? You’ve got a limited amount of money to spend, so what mods will give you the best return for your investment?

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Throttle By Wire

Posted in General, Mechanics, Recalls, Toyota by Kurt Ernst | February 26th, 2010 | 2 Responses |

I’m not aware of a vehicle sold in the US today that doesn’t use throttle by wire technology. What is it? The videos below will explain that in as much detail as you could possibly want. To briefly describe it, throttle by wire uses sensors and motors to open and close the fuel injection’s throttle body. Previously, on both carbureted and fuel injected motors, this was done via a cable linkage between the accelerator and the carburetor or throttle body. Why go to throttle by wire? Theoretically at least, it’s more reliable, more precise and allows greater monitoring capabilities of emission control systems and engine performance.

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BMW S1000RR Valves In Action

Posted in BMW, Mechanics, Motorcycle by Kurt Ernst | February 22nd, 2010 | Leave a Reply |

Let’s say you had an inline four motor with gear driven dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. Let’s say that motor revved to 14,200 RPM; wouldn’t it be cool to cut away part of the valve cover and watch the cams in action at redline?

BMW thought so, so they filmed the above video as part of the S1000 RR’s development testing. Enjoy it guilt free, because it’s really science you’re watching here, not motor porn.

Source: Autoblog

Toyota Recall Woes Continue

Posted in car modifications, Cars, Mechanics, Toyota by Jon | February 13th, 2010 | 2 Responses |

Lately it seems that there are three certain things in life, death, taxes and a weekly Toyota recall. Toyota has announced the recall of nearly 8,000 Tacomas that have a problem with their drive shaft . A report recently surfaced stating that a crack formed in the rear joint, causing the drive shaft to shake loose and may drop straight out of the truck. These “cracks may have developed during the manufacturing process.” Whatever the cause of this issue, it makes us ask ourselves, “How can one company self-destruct themselves in less than one month?” This most recent recall for the Tacoma’s drive shaft isn’t nearly as big of a problem as the previus recalls but how does Toyota expect to recover from all of these problems.  Anyone who may be affected by this recall can call Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 for more information. Toyota dealers will also perform a ten minute inspection of the trucks and if they find any problem they will replace the drive shaft free of charge. Tell us if you would still buy any Toyota.