(Last) Weekly Roundup: Didn’t We Almost Have It All Edition

Well, we could have won the race. Our MX-5 Cup car, “Marilyn”, wasn’t perfectly cooperative — we lost an axle seal on Thursday and the ABS block/pump went AWOL on Friday — but we took the lead in AER’s Class 1 on Saturday anyway. In the end, it was a combination of horrible pitstops and fuel miscalculations that did us in. Still, we finished 21st out of 43 racers, 6th in class. Then we discovered that the left rear shock had given up its seal. Marilyn uses Penske 8300 shocks, and we couldn’t get a replacement seal in time to start in Sunday.

All of our problems will be fixed by the AER race at Watkins Glen in April. The only question is: How much will it all cost? And what will go wrong next?

While I look at my five-figure credit-card balance and weep softly, the rest of you can read last week’s articles!

At R&T, I suggested that General Motors LS-swap everything! even as I moaned about the impact of Midwestern weather on auto maintenance.

For TTAC, I talked about old Neons, found new Raptors, and made a QOTD joke based on old books for teenagers in the pre-digital age.

Brother Bark was suspiciously quiet, but I don’t think that will stay the case for long.

See you next— I mean, this week!

43 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: Didn’t We Almost Have It All Edition”

  1. WhiskeyRiver

    Mark wasn’t totally quiet. He talked about the race and the shock problem on Facebook.

    Glad you guys had fun.

  2. Economist

    Until a few years ago, I had never worked on an un-rusted car. The first time I did a brake job on my relatively new TL, i was heading into virgin territory.
    It was a revelation, turning brake caliper bolts with just a wrench and not being on the edge of stripping every fastener I touched. It made me wonder what auto maintenance was like in places where cars don’t rust. It must be a lot more pleasant.

    • N3TRUN

      Agreed. I buy and daily drive used cars exclusively. I also wrench on all my cars (whether or not I plan on it). A big part of my vehicle inspection is looking for rust. My current daily driver is originally from Arizona – everything on the underside of the car looks like it rolled off the assembly line last year rather than 15 years ago. This keeps maintenance manageable. I didn’t used to be willing to pay extra for cars from sunny climates but I’ve learned my lesson!

    • Bozi

      We are looking to have mostly rust-free cars down here. We have had a few with some rust and I couldn’t imagine working on them all the time.

  3. Arbuckle

    I wish an auto journalist would step away from their cheese platters and Porsche 718 fellatio to actually ask GM why they don’t put the V8 in more stuff.

    And it can’t just be fuel economy. The 3.6 turbo gets fuel economy equal to a Dodge SRT392 and the larger applications of the NA 3.6 is within like 1 MPG (+/-) of the 5.3L trucks. Would a transverse 310hp 4.5L V8 and 8A really be a huge guzzler over the V6?

    • ZG

      I’m guessing that a smaller turbo engine makes it easier to game… err, I mean comply with… the EPA’s fuel economy and emissions testing.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’ve asked the question in the past. “Fuel economy and future preparedness” is always the answer.

      • Arbuckle

        So why do their V6s get such trash fuel economy ratings?

        CTS V-sport RWD : 18
        Impala V6 : 22
        Colorado 4WD : 19
        2017 Acadia AWD : 20

        Charger SRT 392 : 18
        Tahoe 5.3L 2WD : 19
        Silverado 6.2L 2WD : 17
        Silverado 5.3L 4WD : 18

        Considering the V8 vehicles listed are heavier and geared shorter than the V6s, I dont see the huge fuel economy gains for two less cylinders.

        • Felis Concolor

          My WAG is the inherent efficiency of a large, slow-turning V8 over a smaller, high-revving V6: with a larger piston moving at lower speed the ignition and power cycle takes longer to complete in a V8, lending itself to more complete combustion and utilization of expanding gases in the engine, especially when coupled to a taller overdrive which is further enabled by a firing pulse every 90 degrees vs the 120 degree stagger of the V6. Just look at the largest and most efficient engines in the world: big, slow marine monsters with redlines below 1000 RPM and a BSFC which starts at .35 and gets better from there.

          On a related tangent, Mazda couldn’t keep its rotary engine viable in the modern market because its .50 BSFC compares unfavorably to an early vintage Ford Flathead engine – and that was from its last-gen iteration. CAFE kills more than just big, luxurious cars.

  4. Dr Ribs Revere

    I’ve had the thought of an LS swapped ATS on my mind for a few years now!

    Thanks for bringing it into the lime light. It makes so much more sense than the twin turbo 6. Would basically be America’s version of an E90 M3. Though I’m not much for luxury vehicles but a Chevy (Pontiac) version of the ATS would be preferred to having to buy a cheap beat ATS (stick shift) and a wrecked V8 Camaro from which to perform the swap.

  5. -Nate-Nate

    ? Don’t they have those drive through undercarriage wash places any more ? .
    .
    When I lived in Rural New England in the 1960’s we’d run any car worth anything through it once a week regardless of weather, it helped a lot .
    .
    As a mechanic I _HATE_ rust ~ it never sleeps .
    .
    Most California mechanics have never seen any real rust, I still have nightmares about it .
    .
    -Nate

  6. Mental

    My long term LeMons racer truck project has a floorboard hole and some under the top lip of the bed. Drives me nuts after a decade in Oklahoma and living the Georgia. My Pennsylvania based team mates all remarked at how rust free it is.

  7. Sseigmund

    I was somewhat depressed after reading the LS Swap piece. I always want what I can’t have, and this was kind of a painful reminder. An LS/LT option would at least get me into a Cadillac dealership to have a look. The deal breaker would still be the interior and infotainment system. The V-car hood and front end look a bit too juvenile for me at this point in my life. If want that image, I’ll buy a Camaro.

    ATS Coupe, LT1 (no supercharger please), 6-speed manual, Brembo Brakes, No Sunroof, Bilstein Clubsport Dampers, Performance Data Recorder, Updated Interior with Optional Sport Seats. Did I miss anything?

  8. Sseigmund

    I was somewhat depressed after reading the LS Swap piece. I always want what I can’t have, and it was kind of a painful reminder. An LS/LT option would at least get me into a Cadillac dealership to have a look. The deal breaker would still be the interior and infotainment system. The V-car hood and front end look a bit too juvenile for me at this point in my life. If want that image, I’ll buy a Camaro.

    ATS Coupe, LT1 (no supercharger please), 6-speed manual, Brembo Brakes, No Sunroof, Bilstein Clubsport Dampers, Performance Data Recorder, Updated Interior with Optional Sport Seats. Did I miss anything?

      • Dr. Ribs

        I’ll take it in a 4-door. Will need to make sure it comes with the flip down rear seats (hate the mostly useless “ski” pass throughs)

    • arbuckle

      There is no vehicle in the world that would be more improved by a naturally-aspirated GM V8 than the ATS.

      The CT6 and CTS are also in the top 5 of that list.

      • Disinterested-Observer

        I remember reading an article quoting some GM exec about why the XLR had a northstar instead of just using the ‘vette motor even though the former didn’t even fit in the package. Dude said something like luxury car buyers want over head cams. I’m reading this, just thinking “Yes! Someone at GM finally gets it. Luxury car buyers don’t care that the Corvette motor makes ~90 more horses and who knows how much more torque than the XLR, which costs almost twice as much as the ‘Vette. Luxury car buyers, who I am totally sure could explain the difference between cam in block and OHC , want over head cams!” The lack of OHCs has been the only thing holding back the general all these years. Once they moved away from the 3.8 and SBC everything thing worked out great. Right? Did I mention I am a time traveler from 2003?

  9. VTNoah

    Bummer about the race. I was rooting for you guys. I saw Bark’s plea for parts on Twitter and my heart sunk a little. There’s always next time.

  10. Yamahog

    Going to stir the pot a bit on your piece about the Accord – is it anyone else’s experience that Hondas seem unusually rust-prone?

    The GMs and Toyotas I’ve worked on seem to rust about 3 times slower than Hondas and Hyundais. It takes about 3 years for Hondas and Hyundais to start giving me rust problems but most Toyotas and GMs are fine until 10 years. And I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the fasteners on Japanese made Toyotas, I’ve never rounded a bolt if I took precautions like 6 point sockets, penetrating oil, and slowly ramping up the torque.

    Sorry to hear about your Accord though – it can be so tough to find a mechanic who does a good job on Hondas.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Growing up in Ohio, I saw all the ways that Hondas can rust. I agree with you. They’re the worst.

        • Dean

          This is one of the things that gnaws at me when I cast a longing eye at the Mazda dealer. I have a 2012 Cruze that isn’t garaged but gets regularly washed, and it’s fine, even underneath. My last Mazda had rust bubbles on the hood and doors after 4 years.

        • Disinterested-Observer

          I don’t have a whole lot of experience with either but I thought the Mazdas were the the worst. I currently have a Honda, this may sound crazy to someone who worships at the altar of CR but I am hoping that it holds up like my Fords did and not like my Subarus.

      • Dirty Dingus McGee

        When I was working in Columbus in the fall of 2015, I saw a roughly 12-15 year old Accord that was rusted. And by rusted I mean; the rear passenger side door outer skin was rusted completely away more than half way up the door, both front fenders had holes that an average size dog could crawl into, the trunk lid had rusted to the point that a bungee cord was holding it closed.

        I would have been afraid to drive it across a parking lot, but it was turning off Hwy 23 onto 275 on the south side. I stayed far behind them as I was afraid it would collapse, but they rolled it right up to 70+ mph.

  11. Felis Concolor

    It’s trite, but I must restate it: there’s a reason GM owns the crate engine aftermarket.

    They even have a slogan just waiting for your proposed full-lineup swap, and it’s a minor revision of an earlier Chrysler ad campaign:

    General Motors: The V8 Company.

  12. Ronnie Schreiber

    How often do you wash the Accord? I have the monthly unlimited plan at Jax Kar Wash. $33/month and I can get it washed every day if I want to, and if it rains they’ll wash it twice a day. I’ll deal with some swirl marks to keep the undercarriage free of salt.

    The package includes interior cleaning if I want them to do it, but when I think it’s time for that a friend of a friend does a very good detailing job for $50, including removing swirl marks and waxing.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      As rarely as possible; the whole point behind owning it is to have one vehicle that I don’t baby 🙂

    • rpn453

      $33 a month is a bargain. It’s typically $10 to $15 for a single wash here. I would probably wash my car more often if I knew of an automatic car wash that does the undercarriage. Or maybe not. I hate washing my car in the winter. Anything that makes me think about the existence of road salt tends to negatively alter my mood, and the whole process seems like a waste as it just gets dirty immediately during the corrosive warm periods anyway. So I only wash it a couple times a winter and rely on Rust Check to keep the key parts of the body oily enough to prevent corrosion. Nothing visible yet on my ’04 Mazda3.

  13. rpn453

    You certainly get familiar with torches, grinders, cut-off wheels, and cursing while working on cars almost anywhere that has winter. The low humidity and cold temperatures in the Canadian prairies moderate the effects somewhat, but rust is still an unpleasant fact of life here.

    I don’t blame the weather at all though. I blame our disposable, trashy culture that prefers salt and dirt and dust and corrosion over the responsibility of installing a decent set of tires in the fall. It’s beautiful here after a fresh snowfall, right up until the spreaders come out.

    The ATS would be an interesting car with an LS and a stick. I’d like to have an RX-8 with an LS7, or a Boxster.

  14. bjarnetv

    You should seriously consider getting your accord treated with fluid film, or some other lanolin based rust protection.
    stops the rust from getting any worse at least.
    I had my car treated 1 1/2 year ago and it’s still plenty fatty underneath.
    The stuff creeps everywhere, so i’m pretty sure i wont get any nasty sill replacing surprises in the future either.

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