Marc's Public Blog - Cars

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Below is a recounting of various car events I've attended along the years, from car club meets, autocrosses, track events, and enthusiast drives.

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2004/08/19 The funs of owning a car
π 2004-08-19 21:12 by Merlin in Cars

So, I was going to a smog place for my (hopefully last) time since Jason gave me a fuel/timing map that further detuned my engine and should have made it pass smog.
Except for the fact that I had a really hard time putting gears in (i.e. wouldn't shift at all) when I wanted to get out of my driveway, and I realized that I had pretty much lost hydrolic pressure in my clutch.
Luckily, I found a clutch place 10mn from where I live (by foot that is), and managed to drive my car there without the clutch (that's when my training of up and down shifting without the clutch paid off). I kind of did run a red light just a little bit (at low speed when it looked safe) so as not to have to stop the engine and restart the car with first gear engaged while cranking the engine, and I made it to the shop without the clutch.
We found out pretty quickly that I had a leak in the clutch hydrolic system and that I was completely out of fluid (just like losing your brakes, but less fatal :)
The mechanic found that my slave clutch cylinder had to be replaced, and fixed it for less than $200 today, so this wasn't a big deal after all, and hopefully I can take care of smog for good tomorrow morning and set my ECU fuel and timing maps to slightly more fun levels :)
It kind of sucks that all the ways to reduce smog pretty much reduce performance (do you remember MTBE in your gas not that long ago? They found out that it reduced performance by more than it saved on gas polution and finally repealed that in california recently).
The other "fun" one is that cars need to have an EGR (exhaust gas recirculation), which basically means taking exhaust from your engine and feeding it back with fresh air in the intake. If you are wondering "but wouldn't that reduce performance since you're reducing the amount of air to burn", the answer is yes. So, almost all of the smog reduction techniques reduce power, and usually cause the manufacturers to put bigger engines that use more gas as a result. In some cases like a catalithic converter, it makes sense as the polution reduction is substantial. In many other cases, though, the gains are much more debatable, or even negative if you normalise them with power output. Ironic, isn't it?
Oh, and for Ford enthousiasts, my mechanic said "oh, I love fords, they break down all the time, lots of good work for me" ;-)

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