Friday, October 30, 2009

The Complexity of Gasoline and Future Changes

People know that they need gasoline to make their vehicles run. Most also realize that this fuel is highly flammable but beyond these two major facts, very little is known about gasoline. The complexity of blending gasoline to fit the needs of the evolving combustible engine is just mind-boggling.

Where Gasoline Comes From

Gasoline begins as crude oil found deep below the earth's surface. After the crude is brought to the surface by drilling and pumping, a distillation process is performed where the crude is refined into virgin or straight-run gasoline. This process takes place at a refinery where not all gasoline comes out with the same chemical characteristics as another. This difference depends on the crude oil (there are different types of crude) and the type of processing unit at each refinery. Even now, the gasoline is nowhere close to being fit to use in our cars.

The Production Cycle of Gasoline for Vehicles

The virgin gasoline has to now be blended with hydrocarbons plus a host of other necessary hazardous chemicals. Benzene, toluene, naphthalene, trimethylbenzene, TPBE, and others are carefully measured into the mixture to protect the internal parts of our cars. The engine is a mechanical marvel but only when gasoline has been properly blended, do our cars work properly. Even now, the gas is not pure enough to support the intake valves, combustion chambers and fuel injectors found in the top end of the engine of vehicles. Detergents must be added to complete these blends.

Gasoline Seasonal Price Changes

Cars are run in all types of weather. We may think that the gasoline is the same old stuff year round but it is not. Have you ever noticed a price fluctuation right before summer and another right before winter? Refineries are switching from summer to winter gas, or vice versa, and this switch costs lots of money. The pipelines have to be cleared completely before a different grade of fuel can be brought in. This may cause shortages or overages of fuel, affecting the price.

What Is Summer and Winter Gas?

Even though our cars may warm up the running of the fuel in our engines in cold weather as opposed to warm weather, the gasoline must have the ability to evaporate quickly to fire in the combustion chamber of vehicles. While we want the fuel on top to evaporate quickly, we want to keep it as liquid in the gas tank. The warmer months provide heat that is necessary to cause evaporation to start our cars but in the winter months, there is no warmth under our hoods. A molecular change is made to winter gas to help start the engine of your cars easier and protect the internal parts.

More Processes and Additives of Gasoline

We have not even touched on the complexity of other processes used in making gasoline. Other methods are also used in making gasoline to stretch our gasoline supply for cars such as polymerization that can make molecules in the structure larger; alkylation combines olefin and a paraffin based substance; isomerization that converts straight-lines hydrocarbons to branch-lines hydrocarbons; and reforming that totally rearranges a molecular structure. Of course, there is also ethanol and individual state required special blends and detergents to help control pollution but that's a whole other story.

Can the Gasoline Complexity and Price ever End?

Alternative fuel cars are hitting the streets hard with the newest and freshest ideas ever for fuel free vehicles. Sweden has already declared to be fossil fuel free with their cars by the year 2030. Hydrogen vehicles, or hydro cars, are an example of what manufacturers are looking to in the future by using hydrogen to react with oxygen to produce water and electricity that actually powers cars and trucks and buses. Electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are also being studied and tested with promising results. In addition to being totally free from exhaust, these two different types of vehicles use absolutely no gasoline. This may sound like a story from Mars but who would have believed that we could have come up with such an extravagant system of fuel for our cars? Complexity seems to be the norm these days and one-day gasoline will be replaced with another just as extreme.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Figuring out the True Facts about those Fuel Saving Gadgets

Getting the best fuel economy out of all the vehicles that are on the road is more important today than ever before. This is why so many drivers keep a careful check on how many miles per gallon their car is delivering. Finding ways to improve the gas mileage is always something in which they have a great deal of interest. This is why fuel saving products are of particular interest to so many auto owners.

The interest in improving the gas mileage of cars always spikes during the fall and winter seasons. This is because cold weather means that it will take your vehicle more time and energy just to get started. Whenever the temperatures are low the engine in a normal car requires a longer period of time to get warmed up and ready to operate. Cold temperatures also means that the oil vehicles use will be more viscous. Both of these facts decrease the normal gas mileage in cars by as much as 50%.

The fuel economy in cars can be improved without the need for any fuel saving gadgets or special mileage enhancing gadgets. This is true at any time of the year, but especially so when there is cold weather present.

Keeping all of the tires on a vehicle inflated to their optimal pressure will certainly help. Regular over- inflation or under- inflation of tires on any type of motorized vehicles is not a good idea. Parking your vehicles in an enclosed garage can help keep them warmer which means it will require less gasoline to get the motors operating properly. Even an unheated garage is preferable to leaving cars outside exposed to all of the winter weather conditions.

If your vehicles use spark plugs exchanging the old plugs for new ones can help you improve your fuel mileage. This is especially true if the spark plugs have been used for a long time and have a number of miles already. Drivers also need to make sure that their car engine's thermostat is working correctly. Sometimes a car thermostat opens too quickly. This will make the engine need longer time to reach driving temperature. Any time your vehicles are exposed to extended warm up periods they will use a lot more fuel.

These are just a few of the more traditional ways that drivers across the country are improving the fuel economy in their own vehicles. However you will also notice that there are always many offers that claim you can improve your car's gas mileage if you buy some of the "fuel saving devices" that are available. It is easy to find these fuel improving gadgets because they are advertised in magazines, television, and at your local auto parts stores.

These devices are even being heavily advertised on the Internet. The claims and sales pitches that are used by the manufacturers always sound extraordinarily convincing. In fact, most times the performance that is promised seems too good to be true. These high tech fuel saving gadgets promise much better gas mileage for vehicles and usually they come with supporting statistics, information and glowing customer reviews, but do they really work?

There is no real change in the fuel economy of any of the vehicles on which these devices have been tested according to the EPA (US Government Environmental Protection Agency). Of course all of these fuel saving products have not yet been put through the paces, but of the thousands that have there are few positive factors to report.

Of the numerous devices and additives that are supposed to save fuel and improve the mileage in vehicles the sad fact is that they do not live up to the hype and advertising. There are devices that cause more air to enter the intake manifold which will cause a car to operate on leaner fuel. Many of these devices have been rigorously tested and only one created a small improvement in the gas mileage. Unfortunately this positive factor was overshadowed by the increased exhaust emissions that occurred.

Testing was also done on many of the liquid based injection systems that were supposed to be fuel saving products for cars driven by consumers. Always there was the same type of result as before. Researchers have just been unable to discover the fuel economy improvement that these products are supposed to deliver.

There are even some ignition system enhancement products for cars. This is yet one other class of fuel saving gadgets on the market. Not one of these ignition system enhancer devices caused vehicles to show any improvement in their normal fuel economy.

A very popular type of gas saving gadget is one that attaches to the fuel lines on vehicles. You can find a number of these devices that are marketed as either fuel line heaters, coolers or magnets for cars. Supposedly their design is able to ionize and cause changes to the very molecular structures of the fuel that you are using. Needless to say, these do not work, and you should save your money for other purchases instead.

If you are using one of the gas saving enhancers that needs to be mounted at the intake so that it can improve the mixing of the fuel that the vehicles use, beware. Basically what you have to do is to give your car a tune-up before you install this supposed "fuel saving gadget". Any slight improvement in the mileage that occurs is due to the tune-up, not the device.

If you follow the basic rules of good driving and maintain your vehicles properly you will improve your fuel mileage without spending extra money. Modify your driving so that it includes smooth acceleration and gear shifting; avoid "jack rabbit starts"; keep your tires inflated and make sure that you are not overloading your car with unnecessary weight for in town travel. You should be very cautious about any fuel saving additives and devices because very few of them result in any real gas savings.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How to Increase Fuel Economy and save Money on gas

Everyone loves to drive on the open road. Motorized vehicles of any kind, but especially cars and trucks are a joy to drive. Unfortunately, not all of them get good gas mileage. Ask the average person how to improve your mileage and you're likely to be told to buy a more fuel efficient model. For some of us, this simply isn't an option due to certain circumstances.

Maybe we can't afford a new model, or maybe we just like the one we have. Regardless there are ways to improve your vehicles fuel economy without investing a lot of money. The first thing you can do to save money is to alter your driving style. This often means driving slower, but it does conserve gas.

Essentially you want to drive your car around 55 MPH where applicable. This does not mean drive 55 in a 35 zone. It means that on the highway instead of driving 65, or 75 in some cases, get in the slow lane and do 55. While it will take you a bit longer to reach your destination, your car's engine will use less fuel.

Using less fuel means you can go further, and need less at the next filling station. Other driving habits that can increase your vehicles fuel mileage include stopping slowly, and accelerating slowly. There's no reason to have a lead foot for both petals all the time. Of course, maintenance also plays a huge role in your gas mileage.

Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper PSI before driving. This will ensure the tires perform their best, last their longest, and get you the best mileage. This may not seem like it would affect your fuel economy but remember your tires are your cars link to the road. If they are under inflated, over inflated, or just in bad condition it will reduce your gas mileage. It's also important to make sure they are rotated, and aligned at regular intervals.

Making sure your vehicles engine is properly tuned up is also important. Oil changes, spark plug replacement, fluid checking, and belt inspection are all important to keeping your engine running good. The better your engine runs the better gas mileage it will get. Keeping your car washed can also help, believe it or not.

Modern cars are more aerodynamic and dirt and crud on the vehicle can interfere with this slightly. Filthy cars may lose 1 or 2 mpg, but that's still gas mileage lost. Keeping it clean will ensure this doesn't happen to you, and will make it look good as well. Older vehicles won't have this problem as much due to their design. Not that they aren't aerodynamic but they just weren't as dependant on it as modern designs are.

After you've done all of this, if you still wish to improve your vehicle's fuel economy, there are some options. You can use custom parts that improve fuel efficiency, or install custom air filters. These filters are designed to let a certain amount of airflow into yourcar in addition to filtering it. This results in better combustion of gas, which in turn results in better efficiency

Another option you have available is to modify your car's engine into a hybrid system. For people that love their machines this option is a good compromise. Essentially, you take the engine out and upgrade it. After doing this you install an electric motor system to work in tandem with the combustion engine. This process effectively turns the engine into a hybrid motor.

Your vehicles outward appearance will still be the same, but inside you will have a much cleaner, efficient motor. This is a very pricey procedure to undertake though and should only be done if you really love your machine. For the enthusiast among us it is a lifesaver. In most cases this procedure will double your engine's fuel economy.

So if you want to get the best mileage out of your motor remember to keep it tuned up, and take good care of your tires. Always practice safe driving techniques when getting behind the wheel, and never drive drunk. Remember to buckle up and obey all traffic laws regardless of what country you live in. Also, keep in mind that going slow to save a few MPG will save you a lot of money on gas.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Four Wheel Drive Systems

We've heard a lot about four wheel drive cars and trucks over the years. However, there are lots of different variants out there. That means that many people have questions about how their four wheel drive vehicles work. Let's take a look at some of the current systems on the market. That'll help you have an easier time selecting the right car parts for your vehicle and understand how your car handles.

We've seen four wheel drive systems, also labeled 4WD or 4x4 systems, on trucks for a long time. These are the simplest system available. These vehicles may use a lever to shift them between two and four wheel driver, or a switch to shift modes. In two wheel drive, only the rear wheels are operational. When 4x4 mode is engaged, all the wheels drive at once. Since the front and wheel axles are locked together, use this mode on surfaces where tires may slip.

Don't use this mode on pavement surfaces, hard packed areas or other places which are very hard and smooth, because minor differences in tire size may cause the axles to turn at separate speeds. This can cause what's called windup or binding in the transfer case. If you keep driving with this occurring the transfer case or axles may be ruined. 4x4 mode has a reputation for being good is slick or icy conditions, but this binding can actually make corning difficult, since the tires don't use the same paths during a turn. That can make your vehicle slide out of control all of a sudden.

The automatic transfer cases you'll find in many SUVs and trucks make braking and cornering much safer. These systems have an auto position on their shift controls, and offer rear wheel drive and 4x4 mode, too. Select auto mode when you're driving on surfaces where traction may be uneven. This will allow the vehicle to operate in two wheel drive until the tires start spinning then switch to 4x4 mode. As soon as slipping stops, you go back to two wheel drive again. This prevents driveline binding. An ABS system makes barking much safer, too. Always use two wheel drive mode on the highway if you have one of these vehicles, since some binding can occur due to differences in tire size.

All wheel drive is another type of four wheel drive system, seen on SUVs and trucks, and on many models of cars. If you have a Jeep, the system may be called full time, instead. These systems have a transfer case that allows the front and rear axles to work at the same time, without locking them. There are a number of different variations on all wheel drive. Some types split the torque between the front and rear wheels, putting most on the rear. These systems, offered by Volvo, Subaru, Jaguar, Porsche and similar companies, provide excellent handling and traction on any surface.

Other systems use a silicone filled clutch inside the transfer case itself. This allows a few differences in axle speeds, but tends to lock up when the differences between the two are too great. There are still other all wheel drive systems that are mostly front wheel drive, but have rear drive as a backup. Honda's CRV requires the front wheels to slip before the rear ones kick in, which might make a difference on slick surfaces. Nissan's Pathfinder couples the rear axle at start up, then put torque on the front when no tire slip happens. This is more reliable for a slippery start.

There are lots of different variants on four wheel drive systems. Some work well on hard surfaces, while others should never be run on these surfaces. Some systems use four wheel drive at all times, while others work mostly as front wheel drive with an auxiliary rear drive as needed. Unfortunately, even many auto salespeople don't know the difference. Try talking to the service department, instead, or take the time to learn all about the differences yourself. In the end, you'll be glad you had this information. You could save yourself some high repair bills and avoid buying unnecessary car parts. Learning about your particular vehicle's type of four wheel drive is just a smart idea.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Diagnosing Faulty Fuel Pumps

For older models, it wasn't hard to detect when your fuel pump was going out, and it was almost as easy to replace. There were two spots where you can find the fuel pump, either somewhere near the underside of the block, or attached to the head, near the camshaft. How these pumps work is that the pump unit consisting of a one-way valve, and a diaphragm that moved up and down with a pump handle, mounted inside the block, resting against a part of the crankshaft. When the crankshaft turns, it makes the pump handle move up and down, pumping fuel from the tank to the carburetor.

These car parts weren't very hard to replace, and the main thing that usually went wrong was either the handle mechanism, or the internal diaphragm. You could tell right away, loss of fuel to the motor, the heavy smell of gasoline, and you could actually see gas spewing out from the little breather hole. The whole unit can be removed with some open-end wrenches, and disconnecting the fuel lines. In front wheel drive vehicles, the manual fuel pump would be located by the camshaft, and the movement of the camshaft would make the pump work. You could find car parts to replace the pump at your local junk yard, as well as order them brand new. You should always replace things like fuel and oil pumps, or alternators, brand new, or refurbished in some cases, never from a junk yard.

Now when electric fuel pumps came out, there were ups and downs to them. One the high side, fuel pumps were now fully internal, and had now outside components, other than the fuel lines, and the electrical connections. You never had to worry about the diaphragm going out, or the rod arm breaking. The problem was, for some stupid reason, someone thought it was a better idea to put the pump unit in the tank, and the idea probably was that now that the pump was electric, it could be placed as close to the source as possible.

The flip side was that the only way to tell that it was going out was when it actually failed. Sometimes, for whatever reason, it was actually the wiring that failed, not the pump itself. The only way you could tell that something was amiss, other than you couldn't get your vehicle started, was that electrical fuel pumps could be heard working. You could actually hear it whirring, if it was working.

Instead of having to pull the whole fuel tank off to get at the pump, you can pick up inline pumps, that totally by-pass the main pump, and is placed along the firewall in the engine compartment. You connect the fuel lines, and connect it to a power source. If you don't know how to tie it all into your wiring system, so it only came on when the motor was started, you could put a kill switch, somewhere either close to the battery or mounted somewhere in the dash. Newer vehicles with fuel injection have a slightly different fuel delivery system. Fuel comes out from the tank, through the pump and filter, up to the fuel injector rail, then into a fuel pressure regulator and back into the tank. These systems are more complicated than the older car parts, and you have much more to deal with diagnostic wise.

First thing you should do when trying to locate the fuel problem is turn off the vehicles motor, then turn the key forward, If you can hear a whirring sound or an electrical motor sound, chances are your pump is fine. Next you need to check your fuel filter, located either near the tank itself, or somewhere along the line near the motor. The filter will usually be made from a hard clear plastic, and if you can see the little filter inside, it needs to be replaced. If this is all right, then you would continue along the line, to the fuel rail and see if you have problems there, or with the fuel pressure regulator. If you still can't find the problem, it may be best to have a mechanic look into it.

If you need an inline fuel pump, fuel filter, or anything else, you should first go to your local car parts retailer. With the computers they have, they can usually find the parts you need, even if it is an older model vehicle.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fight an Epidemic of Ignorance: Teach a Friend How to Check Their Oil

Recently, my little sister completely ruined her car and had to buy a new one.

Why? Because she didn't check her oil.

Every car-savvy member of my family felt guilty for not teaching her how to check her oil, and why it was important. Frankly, it never occurred to any of us that she didn't know how.

This gap in people's knowledge is actually becoming more and more common. With cheap, ten-minute oil change shops everywhere you look, many young people have gotten into the habit of simply getting their oil changed every three months or 3,000 miles, and don't worry about their vehicle's oil in the meantime.

This is what happened to my sister. She developed an oil leak between changes. Because she didn't know how to check her oil (or even why it was important), she had no idea there was a problem until the car parts in her engine locked up for good. To prevent her fate from happening to you, this article will tell you how to check your car's oil, (and other vehicles) how to read the dipstick, why oil is important in car engines and other vehicles, and the consequences of ignoring oil levels.

Why Oil Is Important in Vehicles

Internal combustion engines contain a lot of heat and moving metal car parts. This is an inherently bad combination. To keep temperatures down to safe levels, moving car parts are lubricated with oil to keep them moving quickly, easily, and with little friction.

The Consequences of Ignoring Oil Levels

If a car's oil is too low or runs out, car parts in the engine lose lubrication. Instead, they create friction as they move. Friction generates heat, and this pushes temperatures past the safe point in vehicles

Under high heat, metal expands. Expanding metal in moving car parts can quickly break housings, get stuck, fused together, or damage vehicle engines in dozens of other ways. In a worst-case scenario, the whole engine block "locks up." The moving car parts have become stuck and won't move.

Fixing a locked-up engine in cars or other vehicles is time and labor intensive, it is more cost efficient to just buy a new engine. Given the high cost of installing new engine blocks in vehicles, it may be cheaper just to buy a new vehicle.

How to Check the Oil in Vehicles

In a car, the oil dipstick is under the hood of your car, often with a yellow handle. For other vehicles (everything from speedboats to lawn mowers), you may need to check your owner's manual to figure out where the dipstick is.

As you drive a vehicle, the oil can slosh around in the oil pan or splash up, coating your dipstick with oil higher up than where the oil actually rests in your oil pan. As a result, the dipstick may appear to tell you that you have more oil in your vehicle than you actually do. To prevent this, pull out your dipstick, wipe it off, put it back in, draw it out again, and then check the oil level.

How to Read the Dipstick

Dipstick markings vary, but they almost always have at least two things: a "Full" line and a large area labeled "Add." If the oil level is below the "Add" area, you may have already done damage to some car parts in the engine. Add oil right away. If you oil level is still in the "Add' area, your engine may be undamaged, but it's still best to add more oil to be safe. Make sure it is the right kind of oil for your vehicle (you may need to check the owner's manual for this).

Most passenger cars or small trucks hold between four and six liters of oil, with the average being about four and a half liters. If your dipstick is in the "add" level, you probably have about one liter of oil left. Add up to three liters of oil, one liter at a time, checking the oil level in between liters.

Do NOT let your oil go over the "Full" line. Having too much oil is almost as bad as not having enough. The crankshaft of the vehicle's engine sits above the oil pan. If the oil level is too high, the spinning crankshaft whips the oil into foam, the same way eggbeaters whip eggs into meringue. Air gets mixed in with the oil, and this prevents oil from being properly pumped throughout the engine. Car parts, without sufficient lubrication, get overheated and become damaged.

The Moral of the Story

Check your oil ...Frequently.

The easiest way to remember is to check your oil whenever you're at a gas station waiting for your tank to fill up. If oil levels are low, you can usually purchase a liter of oil at the gas station. Better yet, keep a litter or two of spare oil in your trunk, just in case. With a few seconds of regular attention and a few dollars worth of oil, you can avoid a catastrophic and expensive engine failure.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Engine Leaks Take a Brutal Toll on Cars and Car Parts

If you own a car then you have probably already had some experience with car leaks, at least to some degree. Even new cars can develop leaks that are both annoying and frustrating. In the 1980s and 1990s engine leaks and other automotive leaking problems were the cause of a large majority of auto service appointments.

Now there are better engineering designs and materials used in the automotive manufacturing process. This has resulted in a decrease in customer complaints because new car parts have been noted to have substantially less problems with leak malfunctions.

Keep Engine Leaks at Bay

For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the basics of engine seals here is a list of what a car engine needs in order to be leak-free.

1. Motor oil

2. Proper compression

3. Fitted gaskets

4. Intact seals

5. Engine coolant

6. Fuel

Understanding Engine Seals

Most of the seals that protect your car engine are designed with double lips so that the motor oil can not leak out. One of the seals is designed to contain the oil, and the other is meant to stop any debris from contaminating the oil system. Although these lipped seals do not move they still have a big job to do because the car parts that they are surrounding are in motion. This is why many automotive techs refer to these car accessories as dynamic engine seals.

You will find dynamic seals used on car parts that are either rotating or belt driven. Two examples of these are crankshafts and camshafts. These are crucial elements for your car engine and it only takes a small leak to create a great deal of damage. An oil leak from a camshaft seal can result in ruined valves and timing belts which are both costly repairs.

How Leaks Begin

Small bits of grit, dust and road dirt are always flying about the exterior of auto engines. If there is a small opening in any seal it can allow some of these contaminants to adhere to the inner surface. Then as the shafts are moving they are being abraded by these particles' sharp edges.

The constant motion of these rotating and belt driven car parts will soon cause small grooves to form along the sides of the shafts. Now the integrity of the seals and shafts are both compromised. Once these irregular grooves have formed on the metal surfaces, leaking will soon follow.

Fixes for Seals

There are times when worn metal surfaces can be repaired instead of being replaced. Some mechanics are able to grind and weld the shafts until the surface area meats the necessary specifications. There is also a slip-sleeve that is available for some front crankshafts. This product is a fine metal covering that can be applied to the damaged area and will then cover the grooves. These are both elaborate and high priced technical projects that are only suggested for ultra expensive vehicles. Car parts such as engine seals and shafts can be replaced at a more affordable cost.

Gaskets and Engine Leaks

In the past a lot of car accessories and engine parts used gaskets that contained cork. The cork would work for a while but it deteriorated at a relatively quick pace. This material would stop a leak by swelling up and forming a tighter seal, but only after a small amount of oil had leached into the gasket.

Another type of engine gasket was made from RTV silicone and this could create a secure seal but only under special conditions. The silicone base meant that it had to be applied to an engine surface that was absolutely clean and free of any oily residue. Many mechanics had trouble getting the metal surface prepped to these exacting specifications.

Most of today's new gaskets are made form synthetic rubber compounds. These engine gaskets are reliable and are much less likely to form a leak. This is the type of gasket that is preferred by knowledgeable mechanics and auto enthusiasts.

Gasket Seal Problems

When placing gaskets onto surfaces it seems that many auto techs and mechanics tend to tighten them too much. In order to address this problem there are some newer designs that use metal spacers. These spacers are actually in the gaskets which helps prevent the over tightening seen in the past. Newer car parts such as the cast aluminum engine covers and those made from plastics have also been responsible for protecting gaskets from this common problem.

There are also some gaskets that are more likely to be the source of engine leaks even if they have been properly installed. A car's head gaskets and those used on the intake manifold are the ones that should be checked first if an engine leak is noted.

Internal Manifold and Head Gaskets

Engine compression, coolants and oil all depend on an intact head gasket seal. The intake manifold gaskets that are on cars are responsible for insuring the integrity of coolants, gas and diesel fumes and air. If these seals are damaged, or compromised you are assured of having leaks from your car that are going to be noticeable.

Engines and Aluminum Car Parts

The fact that so many engine car parts are now made from aluminum is an additional problem. Because of this metal's expansion and contraction the gaskets must be allowed some movement allowance. This means that a mechanic needs to make sure that when the repairs are done the gaskets are capable of allowing for the movement of internal car parts as the temperature and weather changes.

Torque to Yield Bolts

Gaskets are internal car parts and they are placed in areas where bolts are going to be required. A mechanic can use incorrect bolts or too much torque and this will result in gasket failure. In this type of situation there could be a compression leak or coolant leak from head gaskets as well as warping of the heads. To prevent this from occurring most auto shops are now using the type of car engine bolts that are known as "torque to yield".

Check and Repair Engine Leaks

No matter how old, or new, your car is you will need to check on any type of coolant engine leak. Just 2-3 tablespoons of an antifreeze liquid seeping into the oil compartment could ruin some vital car parts. Antifreeze and oil is a mix that can ruin the bearings in any car engine.

If you do not want to take your car to a garage you can handle the situation yourself. Certainly there are many different products that you can use to repair gaskets and seals. Your mechanic or auto supply store can help you find the right one for your vehicle. Just remember if you are doing the repairs yourself you need to make sure that you are using a quality product and applying it correctly. Follow the specifications and make sure to clean the surfaces properly and have exact alignment before making the repairs.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tips for avoiding engine failure

Engine failure in cars can happen for a variety of different reasons. The most common reason why an engine would fail is due to lack of routine care. There are components that not only wear down and have to be replaced on a regular basis, fluid levels that have to be checked routinely. Vehicles that aren't maintained properly can cause an engine to fail for a number of reasons.

One reason you should do a routine check is there are many filtering mechanisms on a vehicles engine. These regulate the purity of things like gasoline, air into the carburetor and engine oil. Without changing these regularly they will clog up, making your engine work harder than it has to maintain the same performance. You also have to regularly clean the radiator for both the engine and the transmission.

You have to check fluid levels often. There are many different engine components that require lubrication, coolants and fluids all to maintain a cars performance. More recently made vehicles also have added features like air conditioning units, electronic components, and other things that require even a greater more complex regime. Just checking and maintaining a car's fluid levels either. Build up occurs over time, in the motor, gas tank, radiator, and any other place where deposits will collect. If these systems are not flushed out at least once a year, deposit will build up, making the engine run hotter, and wear out faster.

If a vehicle isn't maintained properly, here just a few of the possible scenarios that can cause engine failure. Too high of a temperature in the motor causes the metal to expand, creating less and less ability for internal components to move. What happens simply is that if your engine gets hot enough for something to stick, like a piston, or a valve, your engine doesn't just stop; the force will cause it to keep going. Something has to give, the side of the motor block, the head, and a number of different ways, depending on where the failure was.

Another way an engine can fail through heat is that when the metal expands, the integrity of the metal itself can be compromised, causing the head to crack or warp. The instant result of this is a sudden loss of engine pressure. Without engine pressure you could have your foot on the gas pedal and only go five miles and hour. You may get lucky on occasion, and only blow a head gasket, or an engine plug. Gaskets and plugs are designed to blow if there is too much heat and pressure, but that doesn't mean that you have done irreparable damage Aluminum heads are especially prone to cracking and warping because they expand a lot faster than as iron cast one.

What can you do to prevent this from happening? While not all engine failure is caused by neglect, you have got to do regular checks, monthly routines, and periodic flushes. This means things like changing spark plugs, wires, and other electrical components on a regular basis. Change and replace filters and motor oil at least according to the minimum requirements by the manufacturer, or more often depending on usage. Flush out fuel systems, brake lines, coolant systems at least once a year. Check your vehicles motor often, maybe at the same time fluid levels are monitored, to see if there are any leaks in hoses, loose belts, or anything else that is out of place. Also make sure that these belts and hoses are still in good working condition, and replace if necessary. Always change out worn belts and hoses all at the same time. If one belt looks worn and needs to be replaced, chances are the other belts may be as well - don't let looks deceive you.

There are many people out there that are unable to do this all themselves. Whether being hurt in an accident, or an older person, or even if someone that isn't mechanically inclined, it still needs to get done. There are several different vehicle services available and many you could find locally. Some offer specialized services, like engine coolant, oil and lubrication specialists. These businesses will check and replace fluids, change filters, as well as many others. Usually they aren't a repair shop so they don't replace hoses belts and the like, but they do check these sometimes as well, and can tell you if something does need replacement.

There are other car specialists that do engine, coolant and heating system flushes, as well as transmissions. Generally, vehicle repair shops are equipped to handle engine and performance issues. They can replace spark plugs, belts, as well as a number of other things.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Harmful Effects of Engine Deposits and What you can do About Them

At some point or another we all notice that something is wrong with our vehicles. Whether it's slow acceleration, poor performance in general, or just the lack of the old get up and go feeling we use to have, our cars just don't run like they use to. The reasons for this can be one of many but typically there is one in particular that plagues us all. Out of all the problems a car might face engine deposits are just as sever as any car accident, but for the most part overlooked.

Most drivers won't even think to give this reason a second thought, they just think their car is worn out and trade it for a new one till the problem comes around again. Typically only the enthusiasts among us tend to look at engine deposits as the culprit for their beloved vehicles performance drops. The typical driver doesn't even understand what an engine deposit is. This ignorance can lead to bad things happening to the vehicle.

Engine deposits are what are left over from the process of the engine running. Unless you own one of those fancy battery powered cars chances are you use an internal combustion engine in your mode of transport. I say mode of transport because this applies to everything that uses this engine type. Regardless of how new or old your engine is it still follows the same mechanical principal. Fuel and oxygen are injected into the engine, the valves close, a cylinder comes up compresses, and ignites the mix, and then the left overs are sucked out.

This is a fairly old engine design and vehicles from all over the world have been using it for well over 100 years. Cars have used them solidly since the early 1900's and even though technology has evolved, it's still using the same process. By this time you're asking what's this got to do with engine deposits? Well I'll tell you if you will be patient.

Engine deposits are the leftovers from the combustion process left inside the engine, typically ignition waste or oil residue. They just start out as small groupings, sometimes to small to see with the naked eye. But they build up over time. As the cylinders continue to compress and ignite the mixture that powers your car, waste will start to build on the cylinder heads, and valves. This results in the cylinders not getting as good of compression, and the valves not releasing and extracting as much as they should.

Not to mention what gets deposited in your spark plugs. Combustion residue can also cover these and make the spark less powerful. For those of us who don't understand car talk, it means that the power and efficiency is decreased. This turns into a decrease in performance over time and can affect fuel efficiency. Oil deposits also can cause issues over time. These can make it thick, and hard to lubricate your engine properly.

This is also a problem for your vehicle as less lubrication means for friction, friction equals heat, and heat leads to engine damage. That's why people tell you to change your cars oil every so many thousands of miles. Deposits can also form in your radiator if you don't keep it flushed properly. These can inhibit the flow of engine coolant; we all know what happens when engines don't get enough cooling. It typically ends with fire coming out of places it shouldn't be coming out of.

There are many ways to keep engine deposits from forming. You can go to your local auto parts store and get some cleaners. These typically work for whatever system you need them to cleanse and basically eat the gunk out. But some of the cheaper formulas have been known to eat through hoses as well. So pick and choose carefully. Another option is to keep up with your regular maintenance and keep good gas in your tank.

Engine deposits happen to every kind of vehicle whether they are a car or other form of motorized transport. Deposits are often made up of waste from the combustion process or oil residue and can cause severe performance drops if left untreated. Remember a car is just like a human body, as it gets older you need to do more than just the usual maintenance and exercises to keep it working right. Remember to take care of your vehicle, and drive safe.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What To Expect With Engine Demolition


If you are planning to demolish your car’s engine, there are a few things you should expect, some of which include lots of smelly smoke, sparks, vibrations and even some flames if you leave it long enough. If you are doing this on purpose for some reason and you have an audience, ask people to make guesses at how long the engine will be able to run for. You will start the car and let it run without adding oil to the crankcase. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but if that is what you want to do, this is what must be done! Depending on the engine of the car, it might run for only a few seconds or it can last for minutes. It all depends.

What needs to be done in order to destroy all car parts as well as any car accessories that may be in the car is to firstly warm up the engine while making sure that it is functioning correctly. Once you have it running fully, drain all of the engine coolant as well as all the engine oil from the car. You can even do this as an event and use wrecked vehicles from impounds. As long as you are not harming anyone or anything and you use an area that will not catch alight and all goes well, then there should be no problem. Once you have drained the oil from the engine, close the hood of the car, start the engine, and put a brick on the accelerator. Have a stopwatch handy. Make sure no one is near the vehicle, and have a fire engine standing by.

Nothing will be unusual at first, but after some time the engine will start to rev really high. Then it should start to slow down, and if you haven’t seen this before you will probably think that it is going to be a dud and nothing more is going to happen. But the engine will start to run slower and slower because the bearings are beginning to seize on the crankshafts and the pistons are starting to get stuck inside the cylinders. The engine will slow down to almost nothing at all, and then all of a sudden you should hear a loud BANG!

It might take longer than you expected or it might happen sooner than you expected; you never know. It might not even happen at all! Just be prepared for anything and have people on standby should something go wrong. After the loud bang there should be a few more bangs as car parts and car accessories are being destroyed, connecting rods are being snapped, and holes are being punched into the sides of the engine. If you didn’t drain the coolant when you drained the oil you will have a big mess to clean up, and you surely do not want that. If you are lucky the engine will continue to run on the few cylinders that might be left. It might run with jerks and sobs or it might run smoothly; it all depends. The result isn’t always the same.

Smoke should be seeping from the engine and the gaps in the fenders right about now. Even though it seems like the engine should die, it is likely to keep running. If you have gotten this far in the engine demolition attempt you are probably going for close on five minutes now at this stage. The engine should be making more loud noises soon and the revving just about to surge. This should be the last stage of the event. Once the engine finally gives its last breath of hope before it dies, don’t be surprised to see flames erupt from the engine. At this point you need to get the fire engine involved and have the firemen extinguish the fire before the entire car explodes. Do not let anyone lift the hood when the flames have begun as that will make the fire worse.

So this is what happens in the event of engine demolition. Prepare to watch car parts and car accessories never be the same again! Although it is fun to watch and to guess how long the engine will last before it dies, do not do this without permission and experience as it could become dangerous. Make sure you know what you are doing before you attempt anything.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

All About Electrical Connections in Your Car

Poor electrical connections are probably the most common dilemmas with cars. Whether it is your engine playing up or it is the radio in your car that is not working, it could be due to bad electrical connections. You don’t have to take your vehicle into a mechanic's store in order to determine the problem if you know what is wrong and can possibly do it yourself, especially if it is nothing but a connection difficulty. Sometimes it is something simple you could have done yourself, but you took it to the mechanic down the road and it cost you a fair amount of money.

Instead of using the term "electricity" when it comes to a vehicle, some words that are better to describe it are resistance, voltage and amperage. With voltage, just think of it as a little shove. Provide an electrical circuit with voltage and all it will do is shove the certain electrons down to the wires. For example, if your car has a battery that consists of 12 volts connecting it to an electrical system, this can be done by turning the key in the ignition. What will happen now is the voltage will stand still, and absolutely nothing further will happen. The more voltage there is, the more push is offered, and if that voltage is enough, like lightning or even spark plugs, it will even be able to jump up into the air.

An easy way to explain resistance is to say that it opposes flow. Just like driving over a pothole or into a ditch would slow down the speed of your car, electrical resistance will slow down the flow of certain amps. There are many areas of a vehicle that need resistance in order to work. The motor from the windscreen wipers need resistance so that the maximum speed at which it wipes is limited. Inside a light bulb in your car there is a high resistance thread that is able to heat up when there are amps flowing straight through it. Some car parts that have resistance in them are relays, bulbs, motors and solenoids. These are good sources of resistance, but you do get bad ones too.

Amperage, or just amps, is nothing but the flow of electrons. It is the amperage that does all of the hard work when it comes to an electrical circuit. With a vehicle, the starter motor can use anything up to 400 amps, and sometimes even more can be used when trying to start a car with a cold engine. Another one of the car parts that uses amperage is the heater fan; it can use approximately 15 amps where the defogger for the rear window will use about 20 amps. The amps will flow with no problem while there is voltage in the circuit, but if you add the resistance in all the wrong places the amperage will no longer flow as it is supposed to and will probably stop flowing all together.

Resistance may be present anywhere in an electrical circuit. It can be with the ground connection, the battery, the switches or even the power wire. In many cases the body of the vehicle as well as its frame offers the path for the correct amount of ground connection. The places in which there are most likely to be connections will be where there is also high resistance.

Ground connections play a big role in electrical connections and it is thanks to them that all electrical aspects in your vehicle can work. Some car parts use electricity while others don’t. It might also depend on your car in order to determine the type of connections that are present. Car accessories also sometimes use electrical connections; it all depends on what accessories you are interested in. Make sure your car will be able to handle these accessories before you go out and buy them. Car accessories are available in many different forms. It is up to you to decide what you like. There is something out there to suit every person and every vehicle.

Your electrical connections determine what will work in your car and what won’t. So make sure you are aware of these specifications before you go and make purchases that you might regret.

Friday, May 15, 2009

An Example of a Driveability Problem

When it comes to driveability problems, know that you have something that needs to be seen to. It can cost you a lot of time as well as money, and the longer you leave the problem the worse it is going to get. It is vital that you see to it as soon as the problem arises. If you go to a mechanic store and ask the technicians what is the most difficult problem to diagnose on a vehicle and if they do not answer with noisy engines and other vibrations, squeaks and rattles, they will tell you it is driveability problems.

Compared to other car parts, driveability problems occur more often. There is a wide range of these problems. They can be anything from difficulty with transmission shifting to something as simple as starting the car. A common problem that occurs with driveability is when your vehicle hesitates when you go up to about eighty kilometers per hour. A problem like this normally seems worse when it is a hot day. Cruising steadily at a speed of approximately 80 or 90 kph will encourage the problem, but as soon as you step on the gas the car should go fine. This is a typical driveability problem.

If this has happened to your car and you take it in to be checked the sparkplugs should have been changed, the timing would have been checked, and every other routine inspection would have taken place. Then you are told that everything in your vehicle is A for away and you can hit the road again, only to be driving on a hot day again and you feel the same stumbling happening in your car. So you decide to take it to a different mechanic instead of the one that “fixed” the so called problem car parts in the first place. You tell them what is going on and also that you have taken your car in and it has recently had a service, so there shouldn’t be any further problems.

Many people think that they need to get rid of their car accessories when they take their vehicle in, but if it is a trusted dealer you are taking the vehicle to that will not be necessary. If you have problems with certain car parts, you can sometimes buy them separately and have them installed without having to go to a mechanic that will cost you extra money. So now that you have found a second mechanic to see to your problem, you take the car to them to see if they can determine the root of the problem because obviously the other mechanic couldn’t. They check everything the previous guys did and then did what they didn’t do. They monitored the car over a few days, taking it for a drive every day until they experienced the stumbling themselves. They discover that the problem stems from when the clutch is engaged in the torque of the transmission converter when you go in the range of 80kph, so the problem apparently lies in the transmission. The problem has now been diagnosed, but not solved. Now to a repair shop.

At least you know what the problem is now. Now you just have to have it repaired. No, apparently not. The mechanic at the repair shop takes the car for a test drive and he reckons that it is not the transmission but rather the engine. Now you are starting to get rather mad. After all this money spent, you still don’t have answers. So where to now? An auto technology repair centre. You get there and tell them the whole story. By now you are fuming, so they agree to sort your car out for real this time.

It is not normally the car parts that need to be seen to when one talks about driveability problems, but rather the fuel pressure. Everything in the car was re-checked for the third time; camshaft lift and timing, vacuum leaks, spark plugs and wires, cylinders, fuel injectors, you name it, everything was checked. After hundreds have been spent on all of these different mechanics, it takes one to tell you that the problem in fact was the distributor. Inside the distributor cap there was a small carbon track that had occurred from the jump of the spark plug. This is why the car would jerk and stumble when not driven fast. Problem solved, finally!

The moral of the story; do not immediately assume that your car parts are acting up and that car accessories play a part in the problem. With driveability problems you have to dig deep into the source of the problem to find where it comes from.

Monday, May 11, 2009

An Example of a Driveability Problem

When it comes to driveability problems, know that you have something that needs to be seen to. It can cost you a lot of time as well as money, and the longer you leave the problem the worse it is going to get. It is vital that you see to it as soon as the problem arises. If you go to a mechanic store and ask the technicians what is the most difficult problem to diagnose on a vehicle and if they do not answer with noisy engines and other vibrations, squeaks and rattles, they will tell you it is driveability problems.

Compared to other car parts, driveability problems occur more often. There is a wide range of these problems. They can be anything from difficulty with transmission shifting to something as simple as starting the car. A common problem that occurs with driveability is when your vehicle hesitates when you go up to about eighty kilometers per hour. A problem like this normally seems worse when it is a hot day. Cruising steadily at a speed of approximately 80 or 90 kph will encourage the problem, but as soon as you step on the gas the car should go fine. This is a typical driveability problem.

If this has happened to your car and you take it in to be checked the sparkplugs should have been changed, the timing would have been checked, and every other routine inspection would have taken place. Then you are told that everything in your vehicle is A for away and you can hit the road again, only to be driving on a hot day again and you feel the same stumbling happening in your car. So you decide to take it to a different mechanic instead of the one that “fixed” the so called problem car parts in the first place. You tell them what is going on and also that you have taken your car in and it has recently had a service, so there shouldn’t be any further problems.

Many people think that they need to get rid of their car accessories when they take their vehicle in, but if it is a trusted dealer you are taking the vehicle to that will not be necessary. If you have problems with certain car parts, you can sometimes buy them separately and have them installed without having to go to a mechanic that will cost you extra money. So now that you have found a second mechanic to see to your problem, you take the car to them to see if they can determine the root of the problem because obviously the other mechanic couldn’t. They check everything the previous guys did and then did what they didn’t do. They monitored the car over a few days, taking it for a drive every day until they experienced the stumbling themselves. They discover that the problem stems from when the clutch is engaged in the torque of the transmission converter when you go in the range of 80kph, so the problem apparently lies in the transmission. The problem has now been diagnosed, but not solved. Now to a repair shop.

At least you know what the problem is now. Now you just have to have it repaired. No, apparently not. The mechanic at the repair shop takes the car for a test drive and he reckons that it is not the transmission but rather the engine. Now you are starting to get rather mad. After all this money spent, you still don’t have answers. So where to now? An auto technology repair centre. You get there and tell them the whole story. By now you are fuming, so they agree to sort your car out for real this time.

It is not normally the car parts that need to be seen to when one talks about driveability problems, but rather the fuel pressure. Everything in the car was re-checked for the third time; camshaft lift and timing, vacuum leaks, spark plugs and wires, cylinders, fuel injectors, you name it, everything was checked. After hundreds have been spent on all of these different mechanics, it takes one to tell you that the problem in fact was the distributor. Inside the distributor cap there was a small carbon track that had occurred from the jump of the spark plug. This is why the car would jerk and stumble when not driven fast. Problem solved, finally!

The moral of the story; do not immediately assume that your car parts are acting up and that car accessories play a part in the problem. With driveability problems you have to dig deep into the source of the problem to find where it comes from.

Friday, May 8, 2009

How To Deal With A Dead Car Battery

Your battery is one of the most important parts of your car. Even if you have a great, efficient vehicle, or one that offers top performance, it's not going anywhere without a working battery. Unfortunately, leaving the lights on, or simply having too many electronic devices hooked up to a car that hasn't moved for a while could result in a dead battery. You may not discover it right away, either. One day, you put the key in the ignition, and all you get is a ticking or dragging noise, or only the lights will come on. You might have a dead battery.

Of course, there are a few other things that could be wrong, too. There are other car parts that could be the trouble. A bad alternator could cause your battery to go dead, but it's not the battery's fault, or the problem might be the starter, and not a dead car battery at all. You'll need to find out before you buy a new battery, because otherwise, it'll be a waste of money and time. If the car has simply been allowed to run down, you may also be able to jump start the vehicle and recharge the battery by running the car. Some newer vehicles, such as hybrids, cannot be jump started, so you should know your car.

In any car, the battery should be checked regularly to make sure it's working well. Cables need to be correctly connected and battery posts should be clean. If you're unable to jump start your car, you'll need to have it towed to a service station, so try everything else first. Don't just assume your battery is dead and you need a new one. There are battery chargers and similar car accessories that plug into an outlet. These can be used to fix your dead battery, or you could try jumper cables. Just make sure you follow a few basic safety precautions before doing anything with the battery.

If you're going to be working under the hood, you'll need to make sure it's secure to prevent it from falling unexpectedly. A falling hood probably won't injure you, but it can hurt! Remember to check your manual to find out the correct way to deal with your battery, especially if you'll be installing a new one. Your car manual can tell you more about what to do with your specific make and model than any general article or piece of advice from a friend. The newer and more advanced your car is, the more likely it is to have some kind of special instructions for dealing with a dead car battery. The price of car parts, such as a new battery, will also depend on the type of car you have. Some batteries are much more expensive than others.

Be extremely careful if you'll be jump starting your car in the cold, since a dead battery can freeze if the temperature is below ten or fifteen degrees. Jumping the car at this temperature could result in an explosion! If you need to jump in this kind of weather, allow the car that's being used to jump yours to run for a few minutes, with cables attached, to warm the battery. If it's very cold, you should stand ten feet or more from the car and wait up to half an hour. Don't be tempted to rush this - if you can, find a warm place to stay while you're waiting for the car to start.

No matter what weather you're jumping in, be sure not to make the final connection on the battery terminal. That's because dead batteries can off gas and sparks may ignite this gas. Make the last connection on a metal surface in the car, instead. Wear safety goggles if you can, and if they're not available, don't look at the battery when you make the connection - if an explosion occurs, this will protect your face. Start both cars at once, and if yours is sluggish, let the other car charge your dead car battery for a few minutes. If your headlights burn brightly, you should be able to start your car.

If you need a new battery, check for a store that sells car parts and car accessories, and be prepared to pay for it. Installation can be done on your own, but remember the basic safety precautions and remember that you'll be responsible for disposal of the dead battery after it's removed. A fresh battery in a car that's in good working condition should last for years. If it doesn't - something else may be wrong, and different car parts may need to be replaced. That's one reason to have a professional check your car if you're having battery problems. He or she can recommend the right car accessories to fix the problem.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

1969 Alpine A-110

In 1961, the Alpine A110 made its introduction, as an improved and updated A108. Most of the Alpines of the time made use of Renault parts that are mass-produced. The A-110's predecessor the A-108 was designed for Dauphine components, while the A-110 was the updated version made to use the R8 parts. The A-110 was first available with "Berlinetta" body works then with Cabriolet.

The A-110's fiberglass body sat on a chassis with a backbone of steel, the Lotus Elan influenced this design. The Alpine designers used Colin Chapman as a primary origin for their inspiration. The A-110 was outfitted with a 1.1 l R8 Major or with R8 Gordini engines, which had 95 hp SAE at 6500 rpm.

The engine is why, early in the 1970s, it achieved the majority of its renown as a winning rally car. This was after the 1960s when the A-110 won a number of French rallies using the iron cast R8 Gordini engines. This car was then outfitted with the Renault 16 TS engine, aluminium block. With two dual-chamber Weber 45 carburetor, this engine was capable of 125 hp DIN at 6000 rpm, which is why it reached 130 mph in speed.

In the course of the 1970 through 1972 racing seasons, the car gained international fame when it attended the new International Championship for Manufacturers and won a number of events throughout Europe. Among the most noteworthy was the car's victory in the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally driven by the Swedish Ove Andersson.

In 1973, Alpine was bought out by Renault and the International Championship, at this time, was replaced with the World Rally Championship. Renault competed with the A-110, the team consisted of Jean-Pierre Nicolas, Bernard Darniche, and Jean-Luc Therier as the permanent drivers. Once in a while, there would be "guest stars" drivers such as Jean-Claude Andruet who had won the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally. This made the Alpine the first of the World Rally champions.

Around the world, there were other manufacturers of the Alpine, using various other names. Like in Brazil, it was Interlagos, which was driven by Emerson Fittipaldi in a few races. In Mexico, from 1965 through 1974, it was the Dinalpin, produced by Diesel Nacional that, by the way, also manufactured the Renault cars. In Bulgaria, from 1967 through 1969, the Alpine A-110 was produced and called the Bulgaralpine. This car was produced through the partnership of ETO Bulet and SPC Metalhim, this partnership also produced the Bulgarrenault.

By 1974, the Alpine A-110 had reached its end of being developed any further. At first A-110 was outfitted with fuel injection but it didn't produce any further performance improvements, then the DOHC 16-valve head was tried but that was unreliable. Next was a chassis modification using an A310 double wishbone rear suspension along with A-110 1600SC but that was no better.

Here is a rundown of the A-110 various engine types though out the years.

A-110 1100 "70" 1000 VA R8 Gordini type, 804 1108cc 95 hp SAE from 1964 to 1969
A-110 1100 "100", 1100 VA R8 Major type, 804 1108cdc 95 hp SAE from 1965 to 1968
A-110 1300 S 1300 VB tuned R8 Gordini type 804 1296 cc 120 hp SAE from 1965 to 1971
A-110 1300 G 1300 VA stock R8 Gordini 1300 type 812 1255 cc 105 hp SAE from 1967 to 1971
A-110 1500 stock Lotus Europa engine: R16 block 1470 cc 82 hp SAE from 1967 to 1968
A-110 1600, 1600 VA stock R16 from 1969 to 1970
A-110 1300 V85 1300 VC R12TS 1289 cc 81 hp SAE (68 hp DIN); from 1969 to 1976
A-110 1600S, 1600 VB tuned R16 TS 1565 cc 138 hp SAE (125 hp DIN); from 1970 to 1973
A-110 1600S, 1600 VC, SC R17 TS 1605 cc 140ch SAE (126ch DIN); from 1973 to 1975
A-110 1600S SI, 1600 VD R17 TS with fuel injection 1605 cc 140ch SAE (127ch DIN); from 1974 to 1975
A-110 1600S SX stock R16 TX from 1976 to 1978 type 843 1647 cc 93 hp DIN

The chassis was a steel backbone
Body panels were fiberglass
Weight was 1367 pounds
Length was 159 inches which 13.5 feet
Width was 59.1 inches, which is 4.925 feet
Wheelbase was 89.4 inches, which is 7.45
Track (front to rear) was 48 inches to 49.2 inches, which is 4 feet to 4.1 feet
The top speed was 139 mph at 6000rpm
Had front and rear brake discs
Has a 5-speed manual transmission

Currently, a fully restored French built Alpine 110 was located in Maryland and it is available at 60 thousand dollars.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1935 Alta 2-Litre History

While the cars in modern racing always seem to be manufactured by major car companies, this was not always the case. In racing, for example, some independent teams built their own cars and the 1935 Alta 2-Litre vehicles showcase their innovation. Below you’ll find information on this historic car and its importance to racing.

Some Background

Before you can understand this particular car, you need to understand a little bit of the background surroundings its development. The team known as Alta (a shortened version of Alberta) was headed by Geoffrey Taylor (1904 to 1966). He had a strong background in automotives thanks to building components for motorcycles and other vehicles when he was still in his late teens.

In 1928, Taylor built his first car. He used a chassis frame from the A. B. C. auto parts company for whom he worked. He also added a 1,074 cc engine with an aluminum block – the engine was fabricated completely from scratch by him when he was just 24 years old. He raced the car, known as PK4053, in a London race in 1930 and did place in the race.

After this incredible success, the car was put into production in 1931. Taylor’s engine was used in the production but the chassis was replaced with one from Rubery Owen. All of these early models were open bodied, two-seaters. They weren’t about giving the rider a smooth ride but instead getting the fastest speeds possible. And they succeeded. The vehicles could reach speeds of between 85 and 110 mph – an impressive accomplishment in the 1930’s.

However, the cars weren’t just about speed. They also had amazing acceleration which made them an ideal choice for sprints, races, and trials. In 1934, the Alta car even broke a speed record.

Big Changes & Success

Just one year later, the original car went through some modifications. One-seater bodies were developed so the car could hit other racing circuits. Plus, two more versions of the engine were put into production – the 1,496 cc and the 1,961 cc. Both of these models included chain drven camshafts – another important innovation to the model. Just two years later, the 1,496 cc model was altered to be “supercharged.” What this meant was changes in the car’s design had significantly reduced its weight. And lighter cars are capable of reaching faster speeds in less time so the car was believed to be headed for greatness on the race track.

Thanks to the improvement in the weight of the car (mainly due to changes in the nose of the vehicle) the Alta vehicles were able to win a number of races and showed tremendous promise as a front runner for racing dominance in the years to come. Taylor was already hard at work on new designs and a new chassis that he thought would make the machine an even more impressive powerhouse. Unfortunately, things were not too turn out that way for Taylor.

The Unhappy Ending

All of Taylor’s plans were brought to a halt thanks to World War II. Because of a shortage of the very supplies Taylor needed for these vehicles, he was unable to continue building or designing. All of those materials had to be used for the manufacturing of weapons. However, he continued planning and was intending to pick up where he left off as soon as the war ended.

Of course, the war did not end quickly. The war lasted from 1939 to 1945. Even after the end came, however, shortages on the materials Taylor needed kept him from getting back to his work immediately as he had hoped. By the time he did manage to return, the car he managed to design and develop was sadly under classed by those being created by major manufacturers. His car would no longer be able to take the limelight on the race track.

Eventually, Taylor gave up the car making business. When Formula 1 racing debuted, the idea of independent car makers like Taylor developing their own vehicles was a thing of the past. Although the engines he had designed continued being manufactured under a different name for a long time, Taylor was not involved and after being ill for a long time he died in 1966 without any further victories for his Alta vehicles.

However, the achievements of his 1935 Alta 2-Litre did leave quite an impression on the history of racing and on car enthusiasts for decades to come.

Friday, April 10, 2009

1950 Allard J2…the best of Mid 20th Century Euro-American Automotive Engineering

If you have been looking for a stunning sports car that exemplifies the best of English and American technological innovation and design the 1950 Allard J2 tops the list. These cars were produced during the 1950s and they were incredibly popular during this time period. What was even more amazing is that the cost of these cars was quite moderate. These cars enjoyed a popular appeal in both Europe and America when they were first produced and still today they are one of the most highly sought of older sports car models. This roadster was only produced as a limited series of 99 vehicles between the years 1950 and 1951.

The J2 Allard gave a driver an impressive amount of speed and performance and the handling was smooth enough to make them suitable for highly experienced or novice handlers. When the 1950 Allard J2 was put onto the racing circuit the sporty vehicle quickly earned first place listings in race courses on both continents. Sebring and Bridgehampton were only two of the places where this little speedster earned its reputation. Today these well built coupes are perfect specimens to be used on road rally courses and of course the cars are highly desirable by people who only want them placed in show competitions.

One of the best known construction features of the 1950s Allard J2 is the split I- beam axle used in the front end design. This gave the cars that fiercely distinct elongated nose; but it also made it possible to attach the special telescopic shock absorbers and heavy coiled springs that created an exceptional ride. There was a track rod at the rear of the split axle design and it was fashioned from three separate sections. In addition there were two idler arms at the rear and two radial arms which were also attached to the axle beams. To give the vehicle additional stability and suspension assistance there was a de Dion axle connected to the axle at the rear with the same style of coils and telescoping shocks that were used at the nose assembly. The incredible power of the J2 Allard in 1950 was made possible by a special Ford torque tube which was very much different from what other similar speedsters were using.

When the very first of the 99 1950 Allard J2 vehicle models were being rolled off the assembly line they were made with the souped up V8 Mercury flathead engines. These engines gave the cars incredible power and speed but as the racing legend of the Allard J2 models grew the increased need for even better speed was a must. This need was answered by installing new V8 engines in the Allard vehicle line including the Ardun OHV flathead and the Chrysler Company’s powerful Hemi V8 model.

The chassis of the original 1950 J2 Allards all had exceptionally deep sides and these were interconnected with four big bore tubing assemblies. The cars transmissions had more bracing than just the four large diameter tubes and this gave the vehicle outstanding stability but still the overall weight was quite light. This made these roadsters one of the speediest sports car designs on the road.

The lightweight bodies of the 1950 Allard J2 sports coupes were constructed from featherweight aluminum sheets that were molded and then attached with specialized bolts and fasteners. The fasteners were designed for quick and easy release and together the bolts and fasteners made stripping the car easy and fast. This meant that if the cars needed to be worked on by a mechanic, upgraded, or repaired it could be done in the shortest time frame possible. Even road, in-house or mechanical testing on the vehicle was able to be accomplished in unusually fast turnover times due to the innovative engineering and design of the cars.

There were some specific 1950 Allard J2 vehicle models that were only built for competition on the racing circuit. These powerful workhorses were equipped with the strongest V8 engines and tanks designed to hold 40 gallons of racing fuel. You could always tell one of these cars because the place the spare tire is mounted is not at the tail end of the car but on the side midway between the driver cockpit and forward fender.

A J2 Allard in 1950 was an amazing machine with some superior statistics including a 331 cc Cadillac V8 engine. This powerhouse could knock out 300 horsepower without flinching, and remember this was almost 60 years ago. The automotive engineers were forward thinking and highly innovative when it came to creating power and speed for the 1950 Allard J2 cars. In addition to a 331cc engine the Allard used triple, double barrel carbs and meticulously designed camshafts that combined to deliver some of the most powerful roadsters of the mid 20th century. Sports car enthusiasts pay dearly whenever they have a chance to purchase one of these rare cars from the 1950s.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

1992 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce Weaves a Web of Mystery over Buyers

Alfa Spiders have always been considered to be much more than just a vehicle. These cars were produced from the 1960s to the 1990s and they were always available only in limited production numbers. The highest number of these cars produced in any one year was just over 5100. This rarity added to the allure and mystique that always accompanied the Alfa Romeo name. The Alfa Spider Veloce convertible that was marketed in 1992 remains a favorite for many today and when one is advertised for sale it will not stay on the market very long.

These exquisitely crafted machines have always been regarded as being special Italian racing cars. They come with an illustrious pedigree and an automotive DNA history rich with speed, luxury and dashing looks. To own one of these cars has brought an owner a certain amount of cachet and to drive one has been a privilege of some and a fantasy of many sports car enthusiasiasts around the world. The 1992 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce is one of the rarities in this famous line of automobiles because it has clout, speed and visual appeal to both sexes of all ages.

Beginning with the earliest Alfa Romeo cars their reputation was described as a sports car for gentlemen and was not considered the type of vehicle that one would take slogging about in the forests or on off road tracks. Ideally one would not subject the Alfa Romeo cars to rough handling or excessive speeds just for the sake of showing off in front of others. These cars were pampered and coddled by their owners and were known to be a bit a bit balky and petulant if maintenance or care was neglected or postponed. Given proper consideration and treatment the Alfa Romeo would deliver a quality ride to a gentle and generous owner or driver.

The sexy sleek lines of the dashing Alfa Romeo had always attracted attention and the 1992 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce was certainly no exception. The chassis of these cars have a uni-body design that has proven to be extremely durable and imparts a particular elegance to the feel and handling of this automobile. When you factored in the lightweight, aerodynamic build of the car, the high tech engineering design and the flashy look of the vehicle it was easy to see why drivers from many countries lusted after them. Even the price tag placed on the vehicles was very affordable, especially when compared with many other luxury sports cars from Italy, Germany or even the United States.

When the 1992 models were placed on the market they were greeted by an enthusiastic group of sports car lovers. The interior and dash components were covered with real leather in the upscale Veloce vehicle, although there were some suede accents made for inserts in both the seats and the doors. The base units of the same year had only vinyl covering for their seats. The small amount of plastic that was used in the interior dash components was well constructed and very little cracking was seen, even today, many years after the original manufacturing date.

These 1992 Spider Veloce models came with toneau covers made of leather and they also had canvas tops that were surprisingly resilient in many different kinds of weather. Mechanically these speedsters were cars that you could rely upon to get you where you needed to be with style and elegance to spare. The engines were twin overhead cams with four cylinders and although regular maintenance was a mandatory for the best performance, the engines in these cars were amazingly easy to work on.

The last of any major changes to the Spider car line came with the Series 4 line up that lasted from 1990 through 1993/94. The largest of the design differences was in the mechanics of the car. An electronic Bosch Motronic fuel injection unit was installed complete with its own electric fan. The Spider also had the spoiler removed from under the front bumper as well as the spoiler that usually graced the top of the trunk. New lights were installed in the back of the vehicle and they stretched the entire width of the rear end. The physical changes to the North American models began in 1991 and they included power steering, new plastic bumpers, driver airbags and the loss of the beloved spoilers.

There were two choices of Spider convertible created by the Alfa Romeo Company. The base model and the upscale Veloce roadster were the options available. There were not many differences in these cars. The Veloce vehicle had leather seats instead of the vinyl units and slightly larger wheels. The Spider Veloce model had 15” alloy wheels with special hubcaps. If you selected the upgraded vehicle you also received great air conditioning units and a canvas top as standard equipment. In 1992 almost 4000 of these cars were made and sold in Europe and North America and today collectors avidly seek them out and will pay top dollar for an original 1992 Spider Veloce vehicle in mint, or nearly mint, condition.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2004 Acura NSX Sport Car Magic

The 2004 Acura NSX was a beast of a vehicle when it was first released. The price tag on this car hovered around $90, 000 and there were plenty of buyers anxious to put one of these vehicles their garage. The NSX by Acura was originally brought to the American and Canadian markets in 1989 and the concept car took everyone by surprise. The design was aerodynamic and ultra modern and there were new materials being used that were making these cars a hot topic among sports car enthusiasts.

The 2-door style of the vehicle made it clear that it was built as an engine muscle car and not a family sedan. The lightweight top was removable if you accessed the two levers located on the interior of the roof. Although the first year was definitely a peak year for sales, the car continued to do well throughout its annual reincarnations. When the 2004 Acura NSX debuted, it was being pitted against well-known muscle cars like the Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Corvette, Porsche, and Dodge Viper.

This was a powerful speedster that came in a 3L, V6 engine with a 4 speed automatic transmission. The transmission of the vehicle did have a stick shift feature that you could choose to use to add some flair and excitement to your sports car driving fun. There was also a 3.2L V6 engine with a 6 speed manual shift. The addition of 6 gears was the most coveted model by most who were adding this vehicle to their personal line-up. The V6 engine contained a 10.2 compression ratio, 78 mm stroke and a 90mm bore. There was also a double overhead cam on all of these vehicles with variable valve timing/camshaft and 4 valves per cylinder.

The 3.0 L 181 cc engine was somewhat outclassed by the 3.2L 194 cc engine. The 3L model could provide 252 Horsepower at 6600 rpm but the 3.2L version delivered 290 Horsepower at 7100 rpm. The difference is torque was also notable with the 3L giving 210 lb/ft at 5300 rpm and the 3.2L providing 224 lb/ft at 5500 rpm.

Traction control, anti-lock4 wheel disc brakes, and dual front airbags were standard equipment on the vehicles that gave drivers a little extra safety and stability when on the wide-open roads. The mileage for this 2004 Acura NSX sportster was 17/24, which was not too shabby considering that it was built to be pushed at high speeds.

Knowing that this car would be a hot ticket item there were plenty of available color options for both interior and exterior. A customer could take what model happened to be at the dealer that day or choose Grand Prix White, Berlina Black, Silverstone Metallic, Indy Yellow, Long Beach Blue Pearl, Imola Orange Pearl, or New Formula Red as their exterior color preference. The Yellow, Red, and Blue were the most commonly seen colors for this car. Interior color options included orange, yellow, camel, onyx, silver, blue, white, and red.

This all aluminum uni-body car construction provided a lightweight build that could deliver on both unleashed power and responsive, exquisite handling. The engines of all of the 2004 NSX sports cars were created to provide the least amount of friction at all times. These engines were known to be phenomenal workhorses no matter the punishment they were subjected to. The driver remained the focus of this design and this was perhaps the biggest draw for people looking to make the purchase of this super star vehicle. The deep seats kept the driver riveted to the center of gravity and made driving this sports car a truly memorable experience.

The sound system in this sports car is everything you could have requested if you had been the design engineer in charge. The CD changer was then a new feature in 2004 and was mounted in the trunk. There was 165 watts of power provided through a subwoofer at the passenger’s foot, a midrange tweeter that was positioned to the rear of the seats, and speakers mounted low on each door. If music was what you wanted to hear as you drove this vehicle to work then the dynamic sound system delivered the goods.

The Acura 2004 NSX has a rear wheel drive that is stable and dependable. The unique heavy-duty design of the clutch reduced up to 50% of the shifting loads on the vehicles by using the integrated dual and triple coned synchronizers. There was also a Torque Reactive Differential which gave additional control and stability to a driver by decreasing the inside wheel spin whenever the sports car would corner a turn.

The interior of the car was luxury and speed all wrapped up in one glorious package. A full leather upholstery job was only the tip of the design iceberg. There was a Bose AM/FM cassette player; fully powered 4-way bucket seat; keyless entry; 6 CD changer, telescoping sports steering wheel; windshield wipers with variable control; and power windows-doors-mirrors and locks. Add to these a tachometer, floor mats, climate controlled air conditioning, power steering, and cruise control. Even this long list still does not cover all of the features presented on the 2004 Acura NSX vehicles.

Friday, April 3, 2009

2009 KTM X-Bow Winter Drift

KTM Motorcycles came out with their first sports car at the Geneva Motor Show in 2007 with the KTM X-Bow. There was a limited edition of the X-Bow as well...The X-Bow Dallara (there are only going to be 100 made.) This is in honor of Dallara, the Italian specialist in racing and sport cars. This Italian company is also involved with developing and tuning of the chassis. The chassis itself is a double wishbone and has push rod suspension in the front. An extra option is a racing chassis that has an altered suspension and settings and has a pre-loaded adjuster so you can adjust the ground clearance.

The X-Bow is a lightweight mid-engine vehicle that has a carbon fiber monocoque (Greek and French word meaning single shell.) This is a construction technique that supports the structural load by using the object's external skin instead of using an internal frame or truss that then is covered with a non-load-bearing skin. Another term for this technique is called Uni-body construction.

This is a highly developed technique for Formula 1 racing, racing cars and those expensive and exotic sports cars. This particular shell is manufactured by specialists in Wethje, South Germany. It has a crash box located in the front and a "solid sandwich structured floor pan." Because of the carbon fiber shell, the vehicle is only 2,370 pounds. Because it has such a low weight, it can outperform many of the other super cars that are more powerful.

This sports car was designed for wintertime fun, so it is equipped with four-wheeled drive. It is also equipped with two liter Audi TFSI Inline-four. The engine weighs 1742 pounds. Torque is 229 pounds per foot. Horsepower is 240 or 7.3 pounds per horsepower. Top speed is 0-62 in 3.9 seconds.

This vehicle, with its radical and advanced technological solutions, is designed for the ultimate true open-air car driving experience. So this means that there isn't a roof or windshield. At least, not in the conception phase, when it was first introduced in 2007 at the Geneva Motor Show. That was so the focus was to be on the deliverance of the driving experience that only can be found riding a motorcycle. There have been very small alterations from the prototype and the production model that was on exhibit in 2008.

There it was seen that that, for the most part, the biggest change was to enlarge the central air intake located between the headrests. This is to allow for greater engine cooling during demanding activities.

Another obvious change is the new instrument arrangement. Originally, all of the indicator and controls along with a display on the steering wheel, which was proven not too be such a good place for them. So now the display, which is shower-proof, is now located on the center console top. And the control buttons are still on the steering wheel.

Another big change was the addition of small polycarbonate side windows and a smaller windshield. Also new is the seating upholstery. The seat shells have to be rigid and are made from carbon so that the seats can be fixed right to the monocoque, so the cushioning is necessary and comes in different sizes to fit the drivers. Also available is a pedal box that is mechanically adjustable so the driver can set up a driving position that is comfortable. And if you like the "sporty sound" the KTM X-Bow has a silencer with twin exhaust pipes for fine-tuning. Many of the options that are also extra in the Dallara edition you can order for the standard KTM X-Bow except for the Dallara plaque and the special graphics.

Currently, it is certified for being road legal in most of the European countries. The "European Small Series Homologation Regulations" that is set for the first part of 2009 will make it road legal in all of Europe.

Speaking of Europe, even though authorities do not require that the driver of the X-Bow to wear a helmet, KTM stresses that they recommend that you do. At the Geneva Show, they had two available (both had the X-Bow branding). The models were the Arai Closed Racing Helmet and one from Schuberth, a German company. The Arai meets requirements from motor sports authorities by providing comprehensive protection whereas the German one has better peripheral vision.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

2006 Adrenaline Murtaya

On April 11Th 2006, Adrenaline Motor-sports in Cornwall launched a kit car, The Murtaya. A kit car is basically like a modular home except it is a car. The kit comes complete, meaning that it comes from a single donor. This happens to be the 1993 to 2000 Subaru Impreza so you don't have to search hard for extra additions to tweak the performance of the car. In that case, the WRX and the STi models make great extra donor parts in either design, the normal aspirated or turbocharged. But if you are going whole hog then the Impreza Type R or Type RA will go a long way to making your standard package into a great sports car.

People can purchase the kit and assemble it themselves. This was done for financial reasons. It comes in different packages. The main two packages are road spec and the race spec. and the road spec. The road version has a full windshield, air conditioning, leather interior, sound insulation, central locking, and power windows. If you decide to modify the car it is suggested to purchase if possible a whole car (good place to look is the local junk yard.)

To design this car so to ensure that all parts fit as they should, they used CAD modeling and a lot of analyzing. The main concern was the chassis. It needed to be strong so it would be capable to handle the extreme stresses that it will be under.

The basic kit package has these components.

Main Monocoque, Trunk lid, front clam shell, both doors, dashboard, door trim panels, center console, front sub-frame, gear selector rod modifications, steering column modifications, prop shaft, pedal box bracket, steering column bracket, door hinges, pitch stop mount bracket, trunk hinges, bonnet hinge (the protective hinged metal cover over a motor vehicle's engine.)

So the rest of the car that is needed you would need to get from another donor car. A great place to look for whole donor cars is auction houses. You could just go to the local junk yard just for a partial car but a whole car is best you never know what part you need to use or just do some extra modifications. This kit was designed for the home mechanic who is looking for an exciting project for home assembly.

There are three versions of the road version. Standard, WRX, and STi Type-RA or Type R. The standard has all wheeled drive with a 5 speed manual transmission. The WRX has horsepower in the lower 200 range and is a 5-6 speed manual transmission. The WRX STi version will have horsepower in the upper 200 range. The STi Type-RA has a 6-speed transmission, driver controlled central differential. The five-speed Road car's weight is 2035 pounds. The six-speed road Car's weight is also 2035 pounds. Whereas the track car has the lowest weight at 1870 and that is with it being a 6-speed manual transmission.

All of the car versions feature "a composite monocoque tub with GRP front clam shell." There is a multi pointed space frame that is bolted to the main tub where the engine and the front suspension is bolted in. Whereas the rear suspension, gearbox, prop shaft center bearing are bolted right on the monocoque. This to allow a stiff platform for the suspensions to keep the wheels on the ground.

The exterior of the car was also the result of extreme designing work that took in the visual impact. While also taking into account things like plenty trunk space. Overall, when it is finished the car has great visual appeal with every day practicality to do things like shopping, weekend trips, going to work, or going camping.

Before it was even considered ready to sell, it went through a battery of circuit testing at the "Brands Hatch International Circuit", which was viewed by the public and where it was clocked at 400 miles per hour. This car project was under the supervision of these three men, Neil Yates...the managing director, Daniel Muir...head designer and Tom Taylor...head engineer. Which, by the way, is where the name of the car came from these men's last names..."Mur from Muir, Ta from Taylor, Ya from Yates."

"True Concept Cars" is handling of the distribution of the cars in Europe. "True Concept Cars" is located in Budel, Netherlands. Their target customers for worldwide markets are in North America, China, and Russia.