If it\’s got an engine. . .

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Archive for January, 2007

Guitar Hero mini-review

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on January 18, 2007

Warning: not automotive related.

Executive Summary:

Best. Game. Ever.


If you’ve never seen Guitar Hero I or II, you owe it to yourself to find a Wal Mart or Best Buy that has a demo unit so you can check it out.

Even if you don’t own a Playstation 2, it’s worth purchasing the console and the game. It’s that good.

The first Guitar Hero, which was released in November of 2005, sold over 1 million copies. For a game costing $60.00 and released only for a console (the PS2) which was five years old, that’s impressive.

When you play it, you will understand.

If you want to read more, check out the reviews on Metacritic.


Posted in Guitar Hero | 4 Comments »

’69 Mustang with a rumble seat -OR- Why I love Barrett Jackson

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on January 17, 2007

At the Barrett Jackson auto auction today there was a 1969 Mustang with a rumble seat which supposedly was a rare pseudo-factory option.

From the Barrett Jackson website:

“It was a “Blossom-Time” sales promotion offered only during April 1969 to certain Michigan dealers. Documented by 2 different magazine articles, it is still un-certain exactly how many were done.”

Why don’t more cars have a rumble seat option? I’d be able to justify a Miata or S2000 if I could carry the occasional (fair weather) third or fourth passenger.

I’d bet there is a market for aftermarket rumble seat conversions for modern sports cars. It should be fairly easy to implement; design hinges to allow the trunk to open forwards for normal use (with seat cushions removed, of course), or backwards for rumble-seatage.

I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of a four seat Corvette?

Posted in Barrett Jackson, Rumble Seat | Leave a Comment »

Timing, or Timing?

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on January 17, 2007

People seem to get this mixed up fairly often.

A few months ago, a fellow gave me a 1981 Honda CVCC. It was barely running. He told me that the water pump went out and “while I was in there, I went ahead and replaced the timing belt”.

Probably a good idea.

Trouble is, he didn’t know what the timing belt did. He reasoned that he did the job right “because I checked the timing with a timing light and it’s exactly right.”

How’s that again?

The timing belt (or chain) has exactly nothing to do with ignition timing. Nada. Zip.

That’s the distributor.

The timing belt controls valve timing. That is, it controls the relationship between the camshaft and the crankshaft. It tells the valves when to open, so that they don’t hit the pistons (worst case).

The distributor controls the ignition timing. It tells the spark plugs when to fire, so as to properly ignite the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder.

That’s what you check when you use a timing light.

Posted in Timing | 1 Comment »

Havoline with Deposit Shield – Improvement or Hype?

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on January 12, 2007

Havoline is coming out with a new formulation for their motor oil, called “Deposit Shield”. According to their press release, it “helps prevent deposit build up for improved oil stability”.

But is it really any better than the outgoing Havoline?

We’ll see soon enough.

The good folks over at Bob is the Oil Guy are sending some off for analysis. That may not tell us how much better it is than the older Havoline, but at least it will tell us if it is any different.

I have a case of 5W-30 on the way, myself. I’ll let you know what I think of it.

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New Carnival on the block.

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on January 8, 2007

Just wanted to do a quick post to give a plug for the Carnival of Wheels over on The Garage. Gary’s doing a fine job so far. With luck this could grow to challenge the (defunct?) Carnival of Cars.

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What’s wrong with American automakers, part ?

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on January 6, 2007

In the latest Car and Driver, there is a comparison test of $22k to $24k sedans with automatic transmissions. Bread and butter cars, very mainstream. There were two domestic cars in the test – the new Saturn Aura and the newly updated Chrysler Sebring. One could make a case, however, that neither of those are domestic cars. The Saturn is a mildly reskinned Opel Astra, and Chrysler is now a part of Daimler-Chrysler, a German company. These cars were campared to the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Kia Optima.

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In this test, I noticed that the Chrysler Sebring, which Chrysler has been advertising heavily, was slowest to 60 miles per hour, even though it was middle of the pack in power-to-weight ratio.

Looking more closely, I discovered the reason: the Sebring and the Aura were the only cars in the test with four-speed automatics. All of the imports had five-speed automatics, except the Nissan, which had a CVT.

It seems that the American automakers will never learn.

Posted in American Automakers | 5 Comments »