Technical aspects of automobiles

Archive for January, 2010


I have recently installed a new muffler to my Camry.  The only problem (not
really a problem) is that I now want the exhaust note to be a touch more
deeper and louder.  My question is, how can I achieve this without changing
the new muffler.  Can the resonator be changed or modified so that less
sound is absorbed by it, thus a louder note.

Any info would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Stephen {8-)

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hand brake light stays on in my Corolla '87

The last few days the hand brake indicator light stays on, even though the brake
is not engaged.
Any ideas where to look for the source of the problem?

thanks in advance
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Replacements for Wiper Blades

Its time to replace my wiper blades and I seem to remember some discussion
on wiper blades.  Would someone please summary what the result of that
discussion (I was not paying attention since I didn’t need to replace my
wiper blades at that time.)

Also I would be interested in any comments on those triple bladed wipers
that advertise on TV.

Thanks Much,


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Batteries, Voltage, and Amps.

Hey guys, here’s the situation.

I have a 1984 Corolla SR5 which does not remotely resemble "stock" [unless you
are referring to the exterior looks  ;).  Now, in "unstocking" the car, I added
a few things like an electric fan (over a clutch fan), Hi power stereo and amp,
a few gauges and some driving lights.  Now, I wonder why my voltage is always
barely 12 volts at 5000 RPM?  :)

I have heard 2 solutions to this.

1]  Grab another battery and wire it in series with battery #1 (el-cheapo
Firestone 20 micro-amp cranking power  (well, almost)).  Or just replace the
cheapo battery with a REAL man’s battery (whatever that is).

2]  Get a hi-output alternator.  Where?  How much?  How much rewiring?

Any help would be appreciated…  And remember : don’t overtorque bolts in
aluminum heads!  [grumble moan Helicoil grumble kick mumble]


The Pengomeister (who has no long ending block but a cool handle)

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Saab 95 V4 engine noice

I have an oldish SAAB 95 (also called iron here, because
of its shape -iron as in ironing) with the standard Ford
V4 engine, all from 1974. The car has done 220,000 km and
is in quite reasonable condition (rustwise, breaks, etc). Very
recently a noice has started to develop (a vibrating, slightly
grinding sort of noice) whenever the clutch is pushed in. One can
then actually feel the vibration on the clutch pedal. The clutch itself
is relatively new (about 4 years), with no signs of slipping or
anything. Does anyone have any suggestions what it might be, the
engine, or is it the gearbox. I understand that things might be a
bit worn after all these miles, but the enigine has been well treated
in its life and had a few years ago new piston rings and valves fitted, so
I would like it to survive a bit longer.
Any advice what it might be would be greatly appreciated.

                Ernst Witter

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Closed loop CNG or propane

I am interested in knowing if any company is marketing a closed loop
feedback fuel delivery system to use compressed natural gas (CNG) or
propane in spark ignition engines.  

I define closed loop fuel systems as using an oxygen sensor and computer
to control delivery of a correct air to fuel ratio of propane or CNG to the
engine based on exhaust measurement.

I am aware of add on systems for propane that fool the car’s computer into
thinking that the oxygen sensor is active to defeat any "trouble code" or
"check engine" light that would normally occur if gasoline delivery is cut
off.  Computer control of alternate fuel delivery systems is a technology
under developement.  I would like to make contact with other companies or
persons active in this field.


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Flashing headlights

 TS> Damn, damn, damn.  To recap my problem, I have a 200 watt amp in my
 TS> car, and when I play my radio somewhat loud (and the bass is hitting
 TS> fairly hard) my headlights flicker.  I thought it was because my
 TS> alternator was weak (only 38? amps), so I got a 60.  Wouldn’t you
 TS> know it, the damn thing still flickers.  Any ideas on what could be
 TS> causing this?  I’d appreciate any help I can get.

Possibly you have a bad connection somewhere in the headlight circuit that is
getting jiggled by the bass resonance.

 * Origin: Silver Bullet – Silver Spring, Md. – 301-622-2247 (1:109/417)

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Replace buzzers with something nicer?

I have a 1980 Olds Omega which has the old fashioned, VERY
annoying buzzers that warn you when your seatbelts aren’t
buckled, and when you leave the keys in the ignition.

Today, most (all?) cars have those much NICER "bong bong bong"
warning bells. Is there any simple method are changing out the
buzzers and putting in the warning bells?

I do want the warnings, so I won’t just disconnect the buzzers.

Thanks in advance, E-mail or posting is fine,

Craig Cole

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Re: New Paint for BMW

 > Does anyone know how much it costs to get a new
 > paint job on a BMW 5 series car?

Daddy–how high is the sky??
well, sir, how much would ya like to pay??
the least I could see paying is 5-600 for a top of the line maaco
job with some extra charges for prep–the local bmw, alfa, or mb
clubs could advise you where a shop that does nice work is–1000-

1500 or so depending on your cars present shape, a killer job can
cost well into 5 numbers…
I think that the best value is a good shop and a decent job with
top quality paint for low 4 figures, but if you are going to dump
it soon–maaco city!!  

 * Origin: Silver Bullet – Silver Spring, Md – 301-622-2247 (1:109/417.0)

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More on bhp estimates

It was pointed out that the cryptic message about bhp estimation given the
quarter mile times was somewhat confusing.  True, in the original article
where one could follow the derivation and know the units it was easier, and
a single line out of context was not that useful.  Maybe the program below
will help.  At least give you something to do besides wonder about life, the
universe, etc.

Warning:  This was a quick hack, the results are probably within the right
order of magnatude, but don’t count on it.  As you can see, doing a 5 second
quarter takes only 2,000 bhp in this program’s eyes, but we all know that the
top fuelers who actually DO 4.9x times are running about 2.5 times that.  And
in a lighter "car", I bet!


 * accel.c –
 * This code is to compute bhp approximations for a car of a given mass
 * doing specified quarter mile times.
 *  bhp = 110.7 * ( w / t^3 )
 *  usage: accel w t1 t2
 *    e.g:   accel 2350 5 15   gives us
 *         5   2081.16 bhp    [Okay, a ridiculous example....]
 *         6   1204.38 bhp
 *         …
 *        14     94.81 bhp
 *        15     77.08 bhp

#include <stdio.h>

#define Ratio 110.7

char *s;
  printf("%s <weight> <t1_seconds> <t2_seconds>\n",s);

main(argc, argv)
int     argc;
char    **argv;
        float Power;
        int t1, t2, weight, index;

        if (argc != 4) { usage(argv[0]); exit(0); }

        t2 = t1 = weight = 0;

        while (*argv)
          if (index > 25) weight = index;
          if (t1 == 0) t1 = index;
           else t2 = index;

        printf(" For a vehicle weighing %d pounds, we get:\n",weight);

        for (index = t1; index <= t2; index++ ) {
          Power = Ratio * ((float) weight / (float)( index * index * index));
          printf(" %3d   %7.2f bhp\n",index,Power);


You know, I bet the fiscal attitudes of Congress would change dramatically
if taxes were due April 15, and elections were April 16.

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