Jon writes: Hey Sajeev, My wife and I recently found out that we’re to add a third child to our family. As such, it’s time to trade in my wife’s 2016 Charger SXT and get something with a bit more room. We’ve decided on something used in the $15-23k range. The obvious and sensible choice is a newer (2015-17) Grand Caravan/Pacifica/Town & Country. There are a plethora available and we could certainly get into something with the same 3.6-liter Pentastar that we have now with under 50k miles on it. I do like the engine and have driven it in minivan form. I would stick with the FCA offerings over the Honda/Toyota vans because I’m fully convinced that I’ll never make up the 25-30 percent price premium the Odyssey/Sienna command on the used market in repair cost savings. On the other shoulder, the crazy part of me is considering getting the best Mercedes-benz E350 wagon that I can find in our price range. I believe I can find something decent from … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Car Purchase Advice? Pointless!
Piston slap symptoms
Lou writes: Hi, Sajeev: Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve bounced between leasing/buying cars in my two-car family. Because of a severe case of always wanting what I don’t have (thankfully, this only happens with cars and bicycles), I’ve owned quite a few cars over this time period. Sometimes I think I want to own long-term and take pride in my ride of choice (2006 Mazda 6 wagon, for example), and other times I get fed up with issues, such as a $4,000 transmission replacement bill for said wagon, and I then decide I want the security and added features of a newer ride (just finished a three-year lease of a 2015 Outback 2.5 Limited). So, with my car shopping neurosis briefly explained, what type of car should I be looking for, and what type of preventative maintenance should I undertake, if I decide to buy and keep? I don’t necessarily mean a specific make and model. What I mean is, since I do make quite a few short trips of about a mile throughout the day (I … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Keeping the Principal In the Right Car?
Brian writes: Hi Sajeev, You are my go-to guy for in-depth automotive knowledge. (Wow! Honored. – SM) My brother has been having a heck of a time with his 2012 Mazda3 Skyactiv. It’s got about 70k miles on it, and in the past 2 years it’s been in and out of the shop. It started with high engine oil consumption (more than a quart per 3k miles, and going up to this day). Then the ignition coils needed to be replaced. Then the MAF and oxygen sensors needed to be replaced. Right after those were fixed, he had to take it back to the shop because there is now a misfire in one of the cylinders. What’s going on here? My only guesses are worn piston rings causing engine oil to run into the combustion chamber (then down the exhaust and ruining the O2 sensor), or malfunctioning PCV, a broken EGR system, intake valves with a lot of carbon deposits, or simply “bad luck” with this car. Hope you are able to shed some light on this mystery. Thanks! Sajeev answers: … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Misfiring on Mazda 3 Skyactiv’s Diagnosis?
Find Reviews by Make: By Sajeev Mehta on March 2, 2018 K.P. writes: Hi Sajeev, It’s the time of year to start tossing out little-used items so we can get more to replace them. One place I’m looking at is the car. I recall my stash of trunk tools back in the dinosaur years while driving the kind of cars I could afford then: Duct tape for interior tears, dropped ceiling linings, fixing plastic over windows that dropped off tracks, etc Pack of “L’eggs” panty hose as temporary water pump belt Wire clothes hanger as spare exhaust pipe clamp or antenna Can of WD-40 Long Craftsman slot screwdriver to pop off distributor cap, prying tires, etc Lug wrench and two-foot pipe as lever (also as protection device) Couple of flashlights with huge 6V batteries Visegrips as combination wrench, hammer, and spare window crank for when your little brother yanks the handles off Bottle radiator leak stop Tire repair kit with rubber plugs Blankets and food in winter … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Prudent Tool Packing or Junk in the Trunk?
Ryan writes: Hi Sajeev, I have a problem with the air conditioning not functioning properly on my ’89 Ford Taurus LX equipped with Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC). When I start the car on a warm day the AC can blow icy cold air immediately, but the temperature gradually rises to ambient temperature by the time I reach the freeway, and is bad enough that I turn the EATC off. When I turn on the EATC by pressing AUTO, it often feels like it’s blowing maximum heat. I have noticed that when this happens the AC compressor clutch is not cycling on and off. During the winter, the AC compressor clutch clicks on and off. The problem seems to be intermittent and only occurs during warmer months. Also, during startup, you can hear an audible “whirring” noise in the dash, and that started to sound abnormal about the same time the AC stopped working. By “abnormal” I mean it lasts much longer than it used to. I believe the noise I’m hearing is … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Bullish on Ford’s Electronic Automatic Temperature Control?
TTAC commentator PandaBear writes:Hi Sanjay, (First Sanjeev, now we’re using my brother’s name? – SM)I have a ’97 Acura Integra RS on which my mechanic recently did a top end rebuild. The radiator got stuck closed and somehow created a vacuum in the cooling system, overheated and warped the head. Soon after the rebuild a new grinding noise started and the mechanic isolated it to a failing water pump bearing. Before the rebuild my car had a noise that I thought might be exhaust or valvetrain related, but ended up being the failing water pump. After the water pump was replaced the car is a lot quieter, and because it is a lot quieter, I’m now hearing cold start piston slap that I never heard before.The cold start piston slap seems to remain till the engine is completely warmed up. It seems to come when the outside temperature is about 50F or lower. The car has about 260k original miles and is in OK condition, and I’ve replaced the ignition coil, … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Batting an eye at B18B1 Piston Slap?
Sanjeev writes:Hello Sajeev, I am Sanjeev.I moved to Michigan last year and have been driving a used 2006 Corolla. I can definitely afford a better car, but this one is serving me good. Agreed that it doesn’t have all the needed electronics and sex appeal; I am not swayed by that. The recent snow (about six inches) in Detroit area made me think of buying a car with needed ESC, ABS for better handling and driving. I have heard, read a lot about FWD and AWD cars and their handling on snowy roads but haven’t fully comprehended RWD cars on a snowy road.Many online articles generally suggest that RWD is a bad idea during winter. Still, I see many of many colleagues driving RWD 300s, Durangos, and CTSes. Is RWD better or not on snowy roads?Sajeev answers:WELL HELLO SANJEEV: we meet after your years of convincing TTAC’s Best and Brightest (here, here, here, here, here, here) that you run this show. Now everyone knows you do NOT, therefore they’ll stop asking for your … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Sanjeev Gets a Grip on Snow Tires?
Chris writes:Hi Sajeev,Love the column, it’s one of the things that keeps me coming to TTAC daily. I recently purchased a 2017 Ford Edge SEL AWD with the 2.0-liter Ecoboost. I love it so far but there is one glaring issue. The projector beam halogen headlights are simply awful, I can’t believe they left the factory this way. What are my options? Brighter Halogen bulbs, LED Bulbs or an aftermarket HID kit?Help! I’m almost totally in the dark here!Sajeev rambles:Almost totally in the dark with Ford headlights? I remember that feeling, thanks to the tiny low beams with peeling chrome projectors on my 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII: useless after five-plus years of heat cycling. Luckily there was a factory HID upgrade (which I sorta wrote the book on)……and luckily for you there’s a man named Daniel Stern.Daniel Stern actually answers:The problem isn’t just in your head; take a look at how the 2017 Edge did in the IIHS headlamp tests. Don’t just skim, … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: On the Edge From Poor Headlight Aim?
TTAC Commentator Arthur Dailey writes: Sajeev, As I look outside a the terrible weather, I felt it was opportune to ask you (and the B&B) a relatively simple yet timely question about preventing car door freezing: door handles, windows, etc, during the freeze and thaw cycles that we are increasingly experiencing.On Sunday our temperature reached a record low of – 22C but on Thursday we had driving rain and a record high of + 10C melting all the snow. Friday we are dropping to – 13C with high winds and freezing rain/sleet/snow. All of these freeze thaw cycles play havoc with our autos. The high temperatures combined with the salt used to keep the roads less icy results in rusting. Perhaps less serious but just as frustrating are the freezing of windows, doors, door locks and door handles.Historically I have used a number of different types of lubricants and sprays to combat this.For frozen door locks, lock de-icer, powdered graphite, silicone … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Portal Protection for an Erratic Winter?
Stefan writes:Sajeev,We just had the drive shaft replaced on my wife’s 2008 Chrysler Pacifica AWD (no, not the new minivan — the old crossover). It’s been a good and reliable car in spite of its less than sterling reputation, and we have a little over 100,000 miles on it. The 4.0-liter engine with the six-speed transaxle delivers plenty of pickup and all was well until the (center) driveshaft went bad and we had it replaced by our trusty independent auto repair shop.The problem lies with the new drive shaft, which shudders at low speed when you accelerate and moans between 40-50 mph. The shop can’t figure out what it can be and what to do.So, what’s your take on the situation? Can you and the B&B provide some insight in this matter? The vehicle is well cared for otherwise and in excellent condition. I am inclined to keep on driving, since you don’t get much for them as a trade-in — but maybe it’s time to think of a replacement? What … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Giving a Pacifica the (Drive) Shaft?