Archive for February, 2006

How Cars Work 101 – Animated

February 27, 2006 Leave a comment

Inner Auto Parts has put together a very interesting “How Cars Work 101” page. An extensive animated illustration of how different components and systems work in a typical car. From the engine to the Safety Restrain System (SRS), Fuel Injection, Drive Train.

I have spent about an hour going through these and haven’t even got through half of them. Had to share it.

These animations do use Java so you’ll need to make sure you have it installed.

Inner Auto Parts – How Cars Work 101

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Crappy Replacement Parts by GM

February 26, 2006 Leave a comment

Replacing the door hinge pins.

GM OEM Hinge

1. Grind off the bottoms of the pins.

2. Use the hinge pin removal tool to press the pin ou tof hte bracket. Do not pound the pins out like the manufacturer instructs you to do. It will bend the brackets and they will no longer rotate on a true axis. The bushings, pins and brackets will wear out in a short time and the complete bracket will need to be replaced. The cost and labor can come out to be about $800 (8 hours of labor and $130 for the replacement kit).

3. Remove the bottom pin first for easier access to the upper pin.

A lot of complaints have been received about the only pin replacement kit that was on the market. The pins snapped when tightening the nuts drawing the pin into the original factory bracket.

The brackets are made of 1018 steel that is rated at 58,000 psi. The replacement pin is made of 12L 14 screw stock, which is rated at 57,000 psi. The pin is suppose to cut groves into the bracket to resit properly. So, how is the pin that is softer suppose to be able to cut into the harder bracket?

Another problem is that the pins and nuts even though zinc plated, will in a short time wear off and rust. The pins also have rough machining groves that will wear out the bushings a lot sooner.

GM has put out a bulletin about these very replacement kits being available to the repair shops. Makes me wonder if they cared to test them before endorsing this stuff.

Total Automotive Pin Replacement KitTotal Automotive, an OEM Parts Specialist has performed testing on these replacement kits and has designed a better replacement kit, that will last a lot longer. These pins are made of stainless steel and rated at 90,000 psi. CNC machined smooth to rotate without drag. The kits come with a 12 month or 12,000 mile parts and labor warranty providing the pins were correctly removed using the Total Automotive pin removal tool.

For the repair shops that have the original replacement kits in stock, Total Automotive has established a product buy back program that will let you trade in the original kits in for credit.

Total Automotive has put together an extensive presentation about this on their website. You can also contact the by phone at 1-800-450-750.

Total Automotive

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Altezza Lights Myth

February 25, 2006 Leave a comment

Dodge RamAltezza euro taillights are rear brake/taillights that have a clear lens over top of red or amber lamps. Their sleek design gives vehicles a sporty and modern look and can be easily installed to replace your factory taillights. This unique style was first introduced by Toyota in Europe on its Alteeza model sedan. Due to their popularity they are now usually referred to as European Altezza, Euro taillights or simply Euro tails.

The Altezza was marketed in North America as the Lexus IS300, but the Altezza name stuck, once the brake light design was adapted to other vehicles. Since then, many companies have begun manufacturing aftermarket taillights for trucks, cars, vans and SUVs, making euro tails a must have when customizing your vehicle.

Some people still confuse altezza euro taillights with “completely clear taillights” (no red at all). In fact, completely clear taillights are illegal in most places and no longer available to the public. Most of euro tails now are manufactured to be D.O.T and SAE compliant.

Many taillights are available in 4 styles which are: Crystal Clear, Carbon Fiber, Bermuda Black and Platinum Smoke. The color refers only to the housing of the taillights, because the lenses are almost always clear. Choose the crystal clear style lights for light colored vehicles (especially white), bermuda black or carbon fiber for dark colored vehicles and platinum smoke for grey or silver vehicles. Of course it’s all up to your own personal style!

Altezza LightsEuro Taillights are one of the easiest aftermarket accessories to install!

TYC, APC and In.Pro Car Wear are currently, the main manufacturer’s of altezza euro taillights. Tons of makes and models are now available (Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Jeep etc.) for most years, new and old. Whether your vehicle is an older model 1973 or a brand new 2005, chances are altezza style euro tail lights are an accessory option for you. It’s hard to imagine a “tricked” out ride without them.

This article was written by –

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14 HP Gain Plus 5 FT LBS of Torque

February 24, 2006 Leave a comment

An article from the S3 magazine about MagnaFlow’s auto parts, bolt-on exhaust system tells you how to obtain an extra 15 wheel horsepower by letting your ride breathe better. Here is the first part of that article, you can read the rest on their site at MagnaFlow.

Performance Auto Parts

Straight from the think backward department comes the news that when it comes to getting more fuel and sir into the engine, the most efficient and cost effective route is to make a bigger path available for spent exhaust to get out of the engine. The faster the exhaust can get out the way, the more air and fuel the engine can take in. The more air and fuel the engine can take in the more power it can make. And so on. This news is especially true for a turbo quipped ride. When considering an exhaust upgrade the entire exhaust path all at once. Improvements from the exhaust port on the head all the Way to the tip on the muffler will clear the path to performance. To take advantage of the new and improved exhaust path out of the engine some steps should be taken to improve intake flow as well. While a muffler upgrade on its own may not yield any noticeable horsepower improvement, a manifold or cat-back system can bring noticeable results from the old butt dyno, along with the sweet sound of engine music to your ears. The best kind of exhaust upgrade is the one you can feel and hear when you mash the loud pedal.

MagnaFlow Performance Auto Parts

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More Nissan Nightmares

February 23, 2006 Leave a comment

A couple postings back I wrote about my Nissan Altima. I was frustrated with it, because of the airbags issue and the door handle removal procedure.

I don’t think I mentioned the door handle. To remove the door handle from the front doors, the inner door panel has to be removed, which is normal. But there is no access to the two handle screws. All you see is a big sheet metal panel that covers all the inner mechanics of the door. Once you loosen the panel, you find out that you can’t remove it. The window motor and all the power windows system is attached to this panel. You loosen all the “guts” from this panel, then you can easily remove the panel. Now you have all these “guts” hanging everywhere out of this door. It is easy to remove the handle at this point.

I don’t think I am the only one that finds this procedure a little uncomfortable.

I am starting to think that when they design cars they actually try to make it complicated to change parts so you would take the car in to the repair shop. So they then can charge a bunch of money because it is a complicated procedure.

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Everything’s sunny for Toyota

February 22, 2006 Leave a comment
While Ford and GM are both cutting off production of some of their models, Toyota can’t help but grow even bigger. The latest? Inside Line reports, Toyota now worth more than Wal-Mart in financial terms.

According to the report, Toyota has just passed even Wal-Mart as its stock price hit an all-time record Friday and its market value climbed above $200 billion. A portfolio manager quoted by Reuters news service said he saw “nothing negative you can point to with Toyota.” The news service noted that Toyota is now worth more than twice the combined value of DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and General Motors in terms of market capitalization.

Do we hear another big ouch from Detroit?

And because owning a reliable and popular car like one of Toyota is indeed a great experience – we should all take care to protect our investment. Should your Toyota ever need replacement auto parts like billet grilles, radiators, oxygen sensor or headlights, you know where to go, it’s at Auto Parts Corner.

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’57 Chevy Trunk Lid

February 22, 2006 Leave a comment

Sherman & Associates has designed a complete trunk lid for the 1957 Chevrolet. These trunk lids include complete welded inner and outer panels as well as all the cut outs, mounting holes, and components to mount the trunk latch and emblems.

“The result of our design,” said James Sherman, president of Sherman & Associates, “is a one piece trunk lid just like the original”. Now restorers of these classics have an option that produces a much better looking finished product than the outer trunk lid skin which was formerly the only part offered to those with rusted trunk lids. “All they have to do,” Sherman continued, “is prep, paint and hang the trunk lid.”

All components for the new Sherman “Exact-Fit” trunk lid are die formed from electro-galvanized steel which is phosphate treated for immediate paintability. These trunk lids are produced in the U.S. by an experienced automotive stamping supplier. They are freight shippable anywhere in the world. Like all Sherman repair panels, they provide the high standards of fit and finish both amateur and professional restorers have come to expect from Sherman products.

In addition to the 1957 fully assembled trunk lids, Sherman stocks a full line of exterior and underbody sheetmetal repair panels for these classic Chevrolet and other General Motors vehicles, as well as vehicles built by Chrysler, Ford and many import cars and trucks.

Sherman’s giant 2005-2006 catalog contains thousands of autobody sheetmetal panels, header panels, radiators, condensers, and many hard to find specialty items and accessories. Sherman’s full catalog is online at

Sherman Parts

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2005 Nissan Altima Parts

February 21, 2006 Leave a comment

Replacing the SRS on a 2005 Nissan Altima is a bit complicated. If you happen to have a 2005 Altima that needs the SRS replaced, it will be quiet obvious that your dash board is toast. That’s right, the whole dash board is ruined.

Ususally, at least in my experience, when the air bags blow out, the passenger side is always in it’s own little removable section of the dash. Well, Nissan designers went beyond that. They desided it will be much more fut to have to replace the whole dash instead of a little insert.

This is one of a list of problesm that Nissan has that really bother me. I am pretty sure that I will never own another Nissan. Even though I really like the body shape and stance of the new Altima.

One nice thing about working on the front end is that when the car is hit in the front, the whole core support is plastic and is completelly removable from the front of the car ($185).

The headlights are not that expencive ($185 ea) either, considering their size.

The fenders and the front bumper reinforcement is available aftermarket, interchangeable with 2002 and up. Front bumper cover is about what you would expect, $214.

Overall, I like the desent parts prices and aftermarket parts availability for a brand new car. I would not want to work on it again though.

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Cars Living Longer

February 20, 2006 Leave a comment

Better Auto PartsThe average age of a car in the US last year was 9 years.

Ten years ago it was 7.5 years.

In 2005 almost 35% of passenger cars on the roads were 11 years old, compared to 29 percent in 1996. 4.3% of all passenger cars were destroyed for scrap or parts which is the lowest since 1949.

With car manufacturers improving technology and quality of the product they produce it is no wonder the cars are getting better and better.

The parts are made of better alloys and finished with the proper primers and sealers. Automotive paint is improving too, protecting the cars from UV and moisture.

The engines are designed with perfection and built to last.

Replacement auto parts are also becoming better and more affordable for car owners.

“As vehicle durability and technology continues to improve each year, we expect the trend of increased vehicle longevity to continue.” said Dave Goebel, a consultant for Polk’s Aftermarket Solutions, in a company announcement.

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Adjustable Coilovers

February 19, 2006 Leave a comment

Lowering your vehicle not only gives the aggressive look of a sports car, but it increases cornering and provides a quicker response to ground-to-steering ratio.

Dropzone Suspension is the leading manufacturer of performance coilovers and lowering springs. The newly engineered coilovers made of pure stainless steel are powdercoated red and will never rust, fade or strip.

Here is some of it’s features.

– 0-4″ adjustable drop
– Adjusting wrenches included
– Lifetime Warranty from Dropzone Suspension®

Carefully configured spring rates and height adjustability provide incredible handling, response, control and balance. With a drop rate of 0-4 inches, you can instantly slam your vehicle onto the ground in the summer, and raise it back in the winter with no extra tools. Dropzone has eliminated the bounce and flicker of competing coilovers to develop the world’s finest in handling and style. And with our warehouse direct prices, we can offer them to you 30% below retail price. As seen in hundreds of car shows nationwide.

DROPZONE is one of only coilover companies that offers a limited LIFETIME WARRANTY on the product!

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