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Everything posted by ba10

  1. You have said a mouth full my friend. I work with some of the software guys who put this stuff together and needless to say, they are different.
  2. I have a Chevy Sonic. Bought it for gas mileage and it gives me 40mpg back and forth to work. Being a low end car, I did not expect a lot, but I think its not bad. Yeah some hard plastic here and there and the seats don't provide great support for long drives, but other than that it seems to be as well built as most other vehicles that I have come in contact to. I have been driving for over 45 years and I would say, while some things are a bit cheaper, in general todays cars beat anything that I drove in the 60/70/80's.
  3. I actually work for one of the suppliers who makes electric steering. I have worked on both hydraulic and electric systems. I am currently involved in trying to reduce NVH and friction issues with our EPS. I can say this, the EPS systems can be made to provide steering feel that a HPS could never provide, but the problem right now is EPS systems have about 3 times the warranty take over a HPS system. Most of the problems tend to be software issues that cause the steering to fail. From a mechanical point of view, they tend to be very robust. Problem with software is that most of it is done by people from India who are clueless about automobiles in general. Smart people, but no automotive background. All half tons now use EPS and Nexteer (Saginaw Steering for the old guys) provides all the current truck stuff. Hydraulic systems are still used on the 3/4 and full ton models as EPS systems right now cannot muster enough rack force. The reason for the EPS systems is because they provide about 0.5mpg increase over HPS. By the way, an EPS system is about 1.5 times more expensive than HPS.
  4. I did some of the design work on the front suspension for the F150. Some of the parts could have been designed better. In regards to some of your questions, of the aftermarket guys, Moog has been typically the best. They maintain decent quality standards. A lot of the low cost parts come out of China where quality control is spotty, especially heat treat controls on the metal parts. I agree that if you are going to work on the front end, you might as well as replace most of the parts if you are going to keep the truck for any length of time. Your biggest challenge will be breaking the taper locks on the ball joints and steering joints. One of the better ways of doing this, is to place a hammer on one side of knuckle and then rap the other side with another hammer. Good luck with it.
  5. Just for clarification: Ford F150 is out of MI, 250/350 out of KY, GM 1500: IN, TX and Ontario, heavy stuff out of MI, Dodge 1500 out of MI, 2500/3500 Mexico, Nissan is TN and Toyota is MS.
  6. I would still suspect the battery as a problem. When ran everyday, the battery stays charged and when checked at autozone it looked ok even under load, but the battery may have a slow internal short, so that after a few days of sitting the voltage drops. With low voltage, some cars will turn over but the computer sees the low voltage signal and the will not let the car start. May feeling is, if the battery is a few years old, it is usually a cheap starting point. Batteries are wierd, I have had some go 6 or 7 years with no issue and then suddenly die and I have had others that go after only a short time, 18 months in one case.
  7. Not sure if this will help, but I just worked on my son's Jeep Cheerokee rear leaf springs as he wanted to add a leaf to the spring pack. We removed the u-bolts holding the springs to the axle. Hit the axle a couple of times and it separated from the springs. Then we used a cutting tool to cut the head of the bolt holding the springs together. After it popped, we drove the rest of the bolt out of the spring pack. We also the cut the bands holding the springs together. We reshuffled the springs by adding in the extra leaf, then used the supplied longer bolt to assemble everything together. Aligned the protruding head of the bolt on the spring pack to the mating detent in the axle and re-assembled the u-bolts. We then used a series of jacks and c-clamps to compress the springs and put on new bands to band the springs together. Took us about 3.5 hours to do both sides.
  8. ba10

    ram 2500 ball joints

    I hear you brother. I spent time at dealerships and got my ass chewed from customers and mechanics alike for the poor designs. All I could say is, when trying to put 10 lbs into a 4 lb package, somethings not going to work. More history on the subject, most vehicles required new designs for each vehicle update, usually with less packaging space than the previous design. Also as we found out about the deficiencies in the previous designs and would correct them, we had to start all over again. As part of my job, I use to benchmark the competition. One thing that I noted about the Japanese was that they used the same ball joint across many platforms and various model years. As opposed to designing a new ball joint for every model and year, they found one that had good performance and reliability and replicated it across the lineup. Sometimes the joint was actually larger than the vehicle needed, but it provided an increased level of safety factor. But the Japanese use a different business model than the Americans which allowed for the supplier to make money and the OE to reduce warranty costs. Just another chapter in the world of ball joints and the auto industry.
  9. ba10

    ram 2500 ball joints

    Thanks for the support. To be honest I actually have started a book, it probably will deal more with the politics of the business, but I have been trying to put some techinical details in it. So maybe I can count you as a future reader? With you and a few family and friends, I might be able to sell 23 copies! haha.
  10. ba10

    ram 2500 ball joints

    Normally I don't comment, but in this case I will. I designed ball joints for 20 years for the so called big 3, I worked for a supplier company. At one point, I did designs for every truck out there. We did not always win the business due to cost, but the competition usually just copied my design. A couple of things to note. Ball joints are typically the last thing thought about in suspension design, so we get minimal space, which means the ball joint is undersized for its application. I can't tell you how many times the ball was undersized for the load conditions. Just about all ball joints use a polymer bearing for low friction, which is good, but when it is undersizes it means it will wear out sooner. Another issue with lack of space is it is impossible to design a proper seal. With poor seal design, you cannot keep the environment out which means a pre-mature wearout. Grease fittings will help if used. We did studies where ball joints were intentionally contaminated and those not purges destroyed themselves in short order and those that were purged lasted quite a long time. The reason Moog joints usually last a long time, is that most of them still use a steel bearing design along with a grease fitting. Only issue is some modern steering systems don't work well with the increased friction. Another issue is that many companies are now sourcing ball joints offshore to find the lowest price. Here the problem is, they use low quality polymers for the bearings and the seals are typically poorly designed and again use poor materials that don't last. I could write a book on this subject, but it would probably bore everyone to death. Hope this answers a few questions about ball joints.
  11. I think you drive Chevy's so this probably won't help, but I have the standard Ford supplied cover on my 99 Ford and it is still hanging on quite well. It has just started to tear slightly at the corners, but after 12 years what can you expect. The cover has nylon edges that slip into a groove. Works real well, holds up to wind and snow. The last time I priced one at the Ford dealer, surprisingly it was all that expensive. Not sure if it would fit a Chevy, but might be worth looking at. Good luck.
  12. I have 99 Ford F150 4X4 with the 5 speed. The truck has been very reliable. As stated above, it is not very powerful but is ok for Michigan flatlands and the few hills that it sees. The 5 speed is a Mazada unit, so it is limited to only 3000lb towing capacity per the owners manual. The Chevy uses a real manual so can tow more.
  13. I had a 6X10 Passport for 10 years to haul my bikes. I was able to get 4 into it. I also hauled band equipment when my kids were in band. I recently sold it to my brother in law to haul his camping stuff. For me the trailer held up fine. The luan paneling got a few holes punched in it, but other than that I really liked the trailer.
  14. ba10

    high mileage F-150's

    You should try one of the websites for Fords like F150online. They can provide much info such as this website does. I have a 99 F150 4X4with 4.6 and 5 speed. I would say this has been the best vehicle that I have owned. Mileage is about 16 mpg, city or highway. When towing is has gone down to 12. Once thing to watch is early 5.4 engines as Ford did have a head gasket issue with those engines. Also upper ball joints are known to squeak loudly at times. Since the joint is integral to the arm, replacement cost is kind of high. Good luck with your search.
  15. ba10

    Stationary bike vs. treadmill

    Here is my take on this. The real thing is always best, ie biking or running will always be superior to the machine equavilent. More fun and interesting as you get to see and interact with the environment. But if you need a machine for bad weather days, try a stepper instead of the treadmill or bike. I have had many a machine and actually wore some out, so I know a little about it. I find the stepper easy on the knees like a bike, but because with the stepper you can include an upper body work out at the same time which can provide a very good anerobic burn similar to a treadmill. Just another point of view. Good luck with whichever choice you make.
  16. ba10

    Groin Pull/Recovery

    I had a groin pull a number of years ago and as I remember it took about 3 months to recover. Its one of those muscles that is always used, so it is difficult to rest it. I continued to run and excercise with it and just dealt with the pain. I had gone to a sports doctor and basically that was his recommendation. Remembering back, it seemed like it bothered me everyday and then one day it was just gone. Since then, I try to perform some stretches to prevent it from happening again. I think it is just one of those pulls that you need to stretch and gut through until it finally goes away on its own. Good luck with it.
  17. ba10

    s10 heater core... fml

    For encouragement, I had a 2000 Bravada and it had the same issue. It was winter so I had no option but the dealer. It was a cool $800 after much crying. So that should be a little enticement to do it yourself.
  18. ba10

    One Hundred Pushups

    When I was a kid in the early 70's, I remember reading about a motocrosser, I think Jimmy Wienert, who claimed that his father would buy him a motocross bike if he could do 100 push ups. He accomplished that goal and his dad did get him a bike and he went on to some sucess in motocross. At the time, I thought that was an interesting goal, so I set that as my personal goad and did achieve 100 push ups too. I haven't tried it lately, but I think that I can still do 100 push ups. As in all things physical, it is in the doing. Give it a try, it will certainly improve your fittness level with very little to lose.
  19. ba10

    Plantar fascitis (sp) Dr. Mark???

    One other thing you might try is a foot wrap. I had a case of P.F this summer, went to Wallmart of all places and bought one for $15 and within 3 to 4 weeks, the problem went away. I still use it when I run. Its worth a try. Good luck.
  20. ba10

    engine oil analysis

    A couple of thoughts on your oil analysis. First, did you supply a virgin sample of oil? Many bike oils have naturally high levels of metal in them for specific purposes. Second without a baseline comparison to other analysis, this analysis does not really tell you much. I have used Blackstone oil analysis in N.A. and they usually provide a statisitical background for comparison purposes. By seeing what other bikes with similar mileage have for results you can determine whether you are high or low on the scale. Based on the single snap shot that you have provided, your only concerns would be the loss of viscosity and possibly the high water content. The high water content may just be that your sample was taken before the engine was able to boil the water of suspension. Viscosity breakdown is somewhat common on motorcycle engines due to the transmission shearing the oil. You should probably get another analysis in a 1000km or so which will tell you whether you really are having high wear in the motor. Good luck.
  21. Bingo! If you have read some of their writings, they believe the earth should have only somewhere between 1 and 1.5 billion people. They can start by off'ing themselves.
  22. I've got a '99 4X4 with the 4.6 and 5 speed with 98k miles and the only issue I had was a lazy fast idle. It took like 10 seconds when starting in cold weather to come to fast idle. Changed some bypass valve and it has been fine. I burn about a quart of oil between oil changes (3000-4000 miles). Not a particularily powerful motor, but tows an enclosed trailer with 4 bikes ok. Mileage is about 16 in town and 18 on the freeway without the trailer, about 13 with trailer. The 5 speed is kind of crappy, long throws and easy to grind gears, but all in all has been a reliable vehicle. If you don't have high expectations on power, you will probably be happy with it.
  23. Two things have killed manuals, one that you spoke of, not many people buy them and the cost of EPA certification. Powertrain certifications are in the 6 figure range. The manufacturer needs to be able to recoup that cost. In the future, about the only vehicles to have sticks will be economy cars, sports cars and maybe some of the heavy versions of pickups.
  24. I have an 09 and the noise seems to show up in 5th gear after a few miles of running new full throttle.
  25. My brother in law has one and likes it. Only issue that he has had, the trans went out at 52k miles. He did soak the trans a number of times by launching his boat in shallow lakes which might explain its early demise. His mileage is in the mid teens.