Mustang Parts
   Carrying Saleen wheels and Bullitt wheels.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SUVs Less Dangerous To Others*

A new study by the IIHS shows that SUVs which strike cars of a similar weight are now not more dangerous than other types of vehicles.  This is great news, as it shows that automakers have been taking the interface issue seriously.   By adjusting the heights of crash structures, moving towards unibody designs, and improving crumple on light SUVs, automakers have been able to meet or even exceed sedan crash performance.  


The study looks at crashes where vehicles collide which are within 500lbs in weight of each other.  It does not say much about crashes where the vehicles are farther apart, for example a 5000lb SUV striking a 3500lb car.  In cases like those, injuries and deaths are still going to be lopsided, with the occupants of the lighter vehicle suffering more damage.  

This chart from IIHS is telling, it shows how heavier vehicles tend to have higher partner death rates than lighter ones.  

At the end of the day, a larger, heavier vehicle is still safer, for the people riding in it.  But not necessarily for the others on the road.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Sad HP Tale

I decided to replace my stuttering old Dell Optiplex desktop (Core 2 circa 2008) with a new desktop.  I saw a very good deal on Woot!--an HP Pavilion with a quad core AMD CPU and 1TB HDD for all of $300.  It was, of course, refurbished.

That was a mistake.

The HP came loaded down with crapware (trials, useless media players, etc.).  The Pavilion case was made of very thin metal, and thing made a lof of an and drive noise compared to my old machine.  But the worse part was that it came broken.  Despite having 4 RAM slots, the motherboard would not boot if I put more than 2 sticks of memory in it.  HP agreed this was an issue, but informed me my machine was out of warranty.  After several long phone calls with customer service (in India) I finally got them to extend my warranty to the proper 90 days, and accept the machine for repair.

It came back with a new motherboard, and would accept more memory.  But this one would run for a seemingly random amount of time, and then freeze solid. It wouldn't even write the errors into the Windows system log, so I had no way of knowing what was wrong.

The machine went back to Woot for a refund, and I bought a factory refurbished Dell Optiplex 780, with Intel Core 2 Quad CPU.  

The Dell Optiplex came with no crapware, other than a a free trial for a virus scanner, which was easily removed.  The machine is quiet, and fast, and with a free web coupon, it was cheap too.  And, unlike the HP, the Dell came with a 3 year warranty, and an actual restore DVD.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The I3 Is The New I4?

Ford has unveiled a GTDI (gasoline turbocharged direct injection) 3 cylinder engine, which they brand Ecoboost.  The 1.0L inline 3 will power the Fiesta and Focus C-Max in Europe in 2012, and will be competitive in power to the 1.6L I4 Ford currently offers, according to Ford's PR.  That means HP and torque numbers around 100-120HP and 110-120 ft-lb of torque.   Due to reduced weight and the variable-displacement effect of turbo charging, fuel economy numbers will be big.

Getting 100+ HP out of 1.0L is impressive, and matches the power output of such high-end makers such as Audi, BMW, and Porsche.  

The only other automaker that I have heard was working on a 3-cylinder engine, potentially for North America, was BMW (Mini).

Ford hasn't announced North American plans for the 1.0L Ecoboost, but I expect it will show up here eventually in Fiesta and possibly as a base engine for the Focus.   People will have to get used to such a small engine, and only 3 cylinders, but thanks to CAFE, very small engines are the way of the future. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

HEVs: Make Some Noise

The industry is busy trying to decide what noise HEVs and BEVs should make when running in electric mode.  

My humble proposal is here.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Volvo Kills V8

So I'm a few months late, but I just now noticed that for 2012, Volvo is no longer offering the Yamaha sourced narrow bank V8 (4.4L, 311HP) on the XC90.  It was available in 2011, offering a dismal EPA fuel economy of 16MPG combined.

I never liked the idea of Volvo selling a V8.  Volvo has for many years been known for inline engines (I5 and I6), often hopped up with turbos.  This allowed them to stretch for performance without giving up too much fuel economy.  

The last Volvo I owned was a naturally aspirated I5.  It wasn't quick, but it got the job done, and I was able ot average around 26MPG around town.

No Buick Wagon For U.S.


According to a Buick spokesman who spoke to Edmunds, there won't be a Buick wagon for the U.S.  

Won't someone build a fun-to-drive wagon for the U.S. market?  Hello?