Monday, November 7, 2011 05:00
Flowing lines and fat tires are fine in their own way, but for real car guys and gals it’s all about what’s under the hood, where there’s no such thing as too much power––or too many cylinders, according to Mopar, which now offers a 512-cubic-inch V-10 crate engine that churns out a whopping 800 horsepower.
The V-10 Competition Series engine is designed specifically for drag racing, with road-race and off-road versions planned for the future. It has an aluminum block and heads, and is hand-assembled by race-engine builders using a forged steel crankshaft and con rods and forged aluminum pistons that give a compression ratio of 12.5:1.
If you’re lucky enough to have a dodge Viper that already has a V-10, you can upgrade it to up to 650 horsepower with a Performance Upgrade Kit that includes aluminum heads, a larger throttle body on a custom upper intake manifold, and new fuel rails and injectors.
But maybe eight cylinders is enough for you. No fear, Mopar is watching out for you, too, with a new crate version of the Gen III 426 Hemi V8. At 590 horsepower, it’s down some on the pumped V-10, but still no slouch. It comes with a forged steel crank, H-beam forged steel rods, an aggressive roller cam, and cast-aluminum valve covers. It’s the perfect choice for a drag car, street rod, or that old go-kart frame in the back yard.
Thursday, July 14, 2011 08:00
Hey Mac! Today, I found myself stranded with a dead battery. What’s the deal with a 2007 Camry battery dying after only four years? I thought they were supposed to last at least five years. The dealership wants to sell me a new one that is supposed to last seven ears. Does that translate into six if I’m lucky?
--Florence from Memphis
It’s not unusual for an original-equipment battery to survive only four years. Folks who complain about short life of parts often forget to mention that they had previous issues, such as a teenager who played the radio until the battery died. Twenty seven times. Or that “small” wreck that damaged the battery. Besides, what’s the difference between four and five years between friends? It lasted much longer than the warranty, right?
Rather than having the dealership replace the battery (or do any work not under warranty), I would take the battery to a name-brand auto parts store. They’ll test it and, if it’s okay, recharge it for you.
If the battery is okay, take your car to an independent shop for a thorough check of the electrical system. Maybe it’s the alternator or other electric component and not the battery. More...
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 08:00
Here’s another question from the old email bag.
Q. The guys at the Mitsubishi dealer tell me that the Goodyear tires that would fit my 2010 Outlander are "crap" and I must go to another manufacturer. The original equipment Goodyear tires are going to last only about 25,000 miles. —Ann from Ohio
A. Goodyear spent between $500,000 and $750,000 making the those tires to Mitsubishi's exact specifications. They are not "crap." Goodyear produces safe, affordable and usually long-lasting tires. And, for wet- and dry-road grip and hydroplaning resistance, the ultra-high performance Eagle F1 GS D3 is beyond spectacular.
Whether they knew it or not, Mitsubishi ORDERED Goodyear to produce tires that last only 25,000 miles. Most likely, Mitsubishi demanded increased grip on dry and damp roads. To get that, tire engineers must give up, among other things, long life. (Don’t ask engineers to do something you don’t understand. They’ll do EXACTLY what you ask for, even if you don’t know—and don’t want—what you required.) More...
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 06:00
Whoever first said “It’s the little things that drive you crazy” could have been talking about the oxygen sensor in a fuel-injection system. The O2 sensor, as it’s called, maintains the proper ratio of air to fuel (typically 14.7 parts air to one part gasoline) entering the combustion chamber by measuring the amount of oxygen left in the exhaust gas and comparing it to the oxygen content of the outside air.
The amount of air the engine takes in can change due to altitude, outside air temperature, the load on the engine, and other factors. It’s the O2 sensor’s job to monitor these changing conditions to keep the air/fuel mixture in the engine from becoming too lean or too rich. But if the sensor itself starts to malfunction, the consequences for your car are widespread.
The symptoms of O2 sensor malfunction or failure include poor running, such as a rough idle, poor acceleration, and stalling; a sudden drop in gas mileage; and a big FAIL stamp on your next smog check certificate. More...
Thursday, April 7, 2011 06:00
Doing your own tune-ups is a great way to save money and get a feeling of accomplishment. But you shouldn’t just jump into a tune-up without doing your homework first. Here are some tips to make your next tune-up go more smoothly.
Get a shop manual
Want to really screw up your car? Start messing with it without having a clue what you’re doing. A lot of things on a car affect other things, and if you get something wrong, it can have a domino effect that can bring your car to its metaphorical knees. A shop manual will tell you what to do, and in what order, to avoid making things worse than they were when you decided you needed a tune-up.
Read the shop manual
This might seem like a no-brainer, but some guys need to be reminded to read the step-by-step instructions for the particular job they’re doing before they start, to make sure they fully understand what needs to be done, how it’s done, and what tools and parts are needed to do it right.
Have the parts on hand
Don’t even think about starting a specific tune-up task unless you have the parts you’ll need to complete it. You might think your local auto-parts store will have what you need, but you might be wrong—and there you’d be, with your car missing a few key parts, and you calling all your buddies to get a ride to the store that does have it. More...