Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Barrett Jackson to auction JFK Hearse

I'm sure everyone remembers the Barrett Jackson Scottsdale auction  from January 2011 when a 1963 Pontiac Bonneville naval ambulance was sold. A rare vehicle sure, but it was claimed to have been the very ambulance that carried President John F. Kennedy from Andrews Air Force Base to the White House hours after his assassination in Dallas, Tx. Mystery surrounded the car and the lead up time prior to the sale. Was it really the car? Some say yes, lots of facts pointed to no. No one really knew for sure. Either way, the car sold for over $100,000 though no where near what the seller was thinking he'd get.

That brings us to the 1964 Cadillac hearse pictured here. This hearse has a solid, verifiable, and most of all documented history that it was in fact the very hearse to carry President Kennedy from Parkland Hospital in Dallas to the airport to be transported back to Washington D.C.

However, this time around O'neal Funeral Home documented the cars history. The 1964 Miller Meteor bodies Cadillac shows less than 50,000 original miles and is in fantastic condition and shows only 3 owners from new. The hearse has been for sale for a while, going through several auctions being offered for as high as $900,000 in 2007 with no sale. So it should be interesting to see what the car will fetch when it rolls across the block that is the Barrett Jackson circus in a few weeks. I'm sure the car will get coverage on Speed, so make sure you watch January 15th-22nd, 2012. We'll keep you updated.

Source: Hemmings Motor News. Picture: Barrett Jackson.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Breaking Saab news: No more warranty coverage.

Breaking news from Saab. Saab North America will no longer be honoring warranties on Saab vehicles sold in the U.S. Additionally, all new Saabs sold will be sold "as-is" with no warranty coverage what so ever. 

Effective Dec. 19, "warranty coverage is suspended indefinitely for all new Saab vehicles sold. During this period, the warranty booklet must be removed from the owner information packet," Saab Cars North America said in a statement provided to Automotive News.

"For any vehicle sold or leased during this period, the customer should be affirmatively advised that the vehicle does not carry any warranty coverage and is sold 'as is.' "
Saab Cars North America also said it has suspended the processing and payment of all claims, including but not limited to:

• New-car warranties
• Powertrain warranties
• Emission warranties
• Parts warranty
• Safety belts, airbags
• Towing
• Recalls and campaigns
• Certified pre-owned coverage
• Goodwill
• No charge maintenance
Until February of 2010, General Motors handled all warranty claims for Saab, but that had since stopped when Swedish Automobile AB purchased the automaker.
What does this mean for potential sales of new Saabs over the next few weeks/months? Well there probably won't be many. Currenty, Saab says they have 2,400 new Saabs available for purchase nationwide. And with sticker prices well over the $30,000 mark, I don't think too many potential buyers want to shell out that kind of cash on a new car that won't have warranty coverage.  So will dealers be offering huge blowouts on cars in inventory? I can see that on the horizon. But I wouldn't hold my breath on any of these new cars being collectible for the time being. We will keep everyone updated on any further drama on the Saabs of our Lives.

Source: Automotive News.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who want's to play Steve McQueen?

Also part of this past weekend's Icons of Hollywood auction was the original "Michael Delaney" hero fire suit worn by Steve McQueen in his iconic 1971 film Le Mans. Estimated to sell for $200,000 to $300,000. Bidding went crazy, with a final bid of $800,000, plus a $184,000 buyer premium for a total of $984,000. This may very well be the single most valuable piece of Steve McQueen movie history that isn't a car. And certainly the record for a piece of motorsport memorabilia.  The story goes that the suit was donated The Observer, a British news paper to be given away in a Le Mans contest and was won by a 12 year old boy by the name of Timothy Davies. He sold the suit a number of years later, and probably for a sum no where near this figure.

In August the 1970 Porsche 911S owned and driven by Steve McQueen in the opening sequence of Le Mans set a record sale at $1.375 million dollars.

Source & Photos: Profiles in History.

Genuine Back to the Future DeLorean breaks the bank!

About a month ago Profiles In History, auctioneers of anything and everything celebrity announced that they would be auctioning the one and only screen used DeLorean from the Back to the Future trilogy that is in private hands to highest bidder at their December Icons of Hollywood auction. The DeLorean being offered was used for the final film, and was used extensively when Marty McFly traveled back to 1885. In order for the DeLorean to drive over the rough desert terrain, the running gear was removed and replaced with a custom frame and Volkswagen running gear. As strict warning was given that the electrical system was hacked up because of this, making the car unfit for street use. But in reality, you could make everything function properly. But enough about that. What did it sell for? Pre auction estimates had the DeLorean set between $400,000 and $600,000 dollars.

With an opening bid of $400,000. By the time the hammer fell, the final bid was a mere $440,000. There was a also a $101,200 buyer premium, making the total $541,200 for a one of a kind piece of Hollywood history. And you're certainly going to be the only one on the block with one. If the new owner is out there in cyberspace, PLEASE get in contact with us. We would love to interview you and find out what your plans are.

$500,000 a little too rich? For $30,000 you could have bought Doc's model train and time machine used to show how Doc and Marty would return to 1985. Or how about Doc's wind up Cadillac used to demonstrate how Marty would harness the lightning to travel from 1955 to 1985? That one could have been yours for $18,000. This was just part of the huge collection of props and memorabilia from the film series. And part of the proceeds from the auction of the DeLorean and other film memorabilia and props will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research.

Source & Photos: Profiles in History.

2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

A bright yellow 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 3.8 liter with 117,263 miles on the odometer is at Mr. T's shop. The vehicle came in as a no start, no crank condition. The battery load tested bad so a new battery went in with the same result. I am informed that they can jump out the starter relay and the car will crank but will not stay running. Let's look at the starter circuit for starters.
Ok we have a starter relay which is called out as a crank relay in this diagram. The relay is PCM controlled. The PCM will engage the relay when it sees a crank voltage input and the gear input is correct. We don't want the vehicle cranking when in gear. But, there is one more piece of the puzzle. Lets look at some theory.

This is some Passlock (the vehicle theft system) theory from GM. I underlined the parts that pertain to our issue at hand. Passlock has been around since 1995/1996 on GM vehicles. On some years/models it will disable the starter relay operation and other years it won't. Check the description of operation if you are not sure. I know what I am doing next.

I hook up my Tech2 and perform a Class 2 DTC check. I use this to see what modules are reporting on the Class 2 data line. I see an issue here already. There is a module that is linked to our problem that is not here. The BCM is AWOL. Now, we have to find out why. I check the fuses that power up the BCM in the left side instrument panel fusebox which are good. My next step is to see if there is any add on items such as an aftermarket alarm that would be causing issues with the BCM.

The BCM is located under the left side of the dash buried up high. There is an aftermarket alarm involved that dropped on me as I dropped this panel. I disconnected the aftermarket alarm module and rechecked to see if the BCM came back online. No dice. We have to get right at the BCM.

There it is tucked up high. I wrestle it down and backprobed the powers and grounds right at the BCM they are fine. The next thing I do is to disconnect all the connectors at the BCM and walk away from the vehicle for 20 minutes. I return and reconnect the BCM. Let's recheck to see if now the BCM is reporting.
Well look at this. The BCM is back online. The car starts and runs now. This is what is called "logic lock" in the industry. The module was electrically locked and shutdown. Disconnecting it for 20 minutes and reconnecting unlocked it. I have seen this on Chrysler and Nissan vehicles as well as GM vehicles. There is much debate about what causes this and what is the proper repair. I believe logic lock is caused by voltage fluctuations, surges, spikes, or excessive ac voltage ripple. In this case I believe the weak battery caused the logic lock. I did check charging rate and for ac ripple as well. Now, the proper repair some believe would be to change the locked module for fear it will lock again. The theory there is that the module lock is a symptom of a bad module. I give the shop owner the options. He decides to let it go as is and to inform the customer of the possibilities. This vehicle has been out now for a month and doing just fine.

Saab files for bankruptcy protection. What's next?

The soap opera that has become Swedish automaker Saab, continues to unravel. The automaker is expected in bankruptcy court today in Sweden where it will find if they are shielded from creditors while a buyer for the company is found.

General Motors, former owner of Saab until their own bankruptcy let them shed the automaker, has been blocking the potential sale of Saab to a Chinese automaker. GM's basis is because they do not want the sharing of GMs platform technology with another competitor that could potentially undercut them in the Chinese market that GM has seen huge success with. And unfortunately, Saab depends on GM's help in that are in order to be able to build cars or at least until Saab has the funds to develop their own technology again. And that really isn't going to happen any time soon.

All the while dealers in the US and around the world have been patiently awaiting cars to be able to sell to customers, and with each passing day, its looking less and less likely they'll see them. So is this the swansong for Saab? Unfortunately it looks like it may very well be. I have always been a fan of the brand and would hate to see them go away, but I think the time has come to envision a world without new Saabs.

Hot Rod of the day: 1940 Ford style

Few cars are as iconic as the 1939/40 Ford. It's a car that symbolizes the Moonshiner. Which in fact the '40 featured below served as in a prior life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2001 Nissan Sentra

This 2001 Nissan Sentra 1.8 liter with 216,173 miles on it rolled into this shop with the MIL on and running rough. The car's owner "diagnosed" it as a bad fuel injector because he had trouble with injectors before. The shop owner called me in to confirm or disprove the customers "driveway diagnosis". I start the car up and indeed it runs rough and has a MIL on. Lets check the code for starters and then roll up the sleeves.
Ok, we got something to go on. I have a P0303 code for cylinder #3 misfire. I am thankful for this because Nissan on the whole usually sets a P0300 code for multiple misfires rather than specific cylinders. Either way we need to confirm if the PCM is telling the truth about which cylinder is misfiring and then find out why it is misfiring. Whenever possible I like to backup what the PCM is telling me. So......
My scanner allows me to do a power balance test. When I select a cylinder I can disable that cylinder and check for contribution. I am looking for rpm drop when the cylinder is killed and I am looking to feel the engine running change as the cylinder is disabled. Here I disable #3 cylinder and the rpm doesn't drop and I do not feel any change in how the vehicle is running. I always try a known good cylinder to compare and check whether my scanner is doing as advertised.
Here I do the same procedure with #1 cylinder. I get a substantial rpm drop and the vehicle runs much differently with #1 cylinder disabled. So, now we know we have a true blue problem with #3 cylinder. What's next?

This Sentra is a California emissions vehicle. It uses two upstream oxygen sensors to monitor fuel control. Oxygen sensor 1 is bank 1 that monitors cylinders #1 and #4. Oxygen sensor 2 is bank 2 that monitors cylinders #2 and #3. Important to know when we look at fuel trims. Just a FYI there was a CA (Clean Air) version that had one Air Fuel ratio sensor upstream instead of two oxygen sensors. Know which emission standard you have when doing testing.
Here are the fuel trims for this vehicle at an idle. Nissan uses what is called Alpha for fuel trim. Basically 0 Alpha is perfect fuel control. Nissan actually displays true 0 Alpha as 100. The Ottotest interprets it a bit differently. But, it serves the purpose. Whenever I have a misfire I always look at fuel trims. They can give you clues to where to go next and zero in on your problem. Remember, my job is to diagnose quickly and accurately. I see nothing here that would tell me that this vehicle suffers from a fuel injector issue. If the fuel injector was plugged or inoperative I would expect to see exaggerated numbers in the positive range as the PCM tries to compensate for the lack of fuel. The exact opposite would happen if the injector was leaking. At this point I am not looking at a fuel related misfire.
Those of you that know how I operate should not be suprised by the next step. Out comes the scope and low amp probe. I need to look at the ignition system. This year utilized 4 COP (Coil on plug) units. First our problem cylinder.

Yeesh! Here we have a textbook example of a shorted coil. The turn on portion of the pattern goes straight up. No turn on oscillations at the beginning of the pattern (more on primary current and turn on oscillations later this month). Let's check a known good cylinder.

Notice the difference. A nice sloping turn on with turn on oscillations at the very beginning of the turn on pattern. This vehicle has a bad COP unit on #3 cylinder. Let's check that #3 injector to satisfy the customer and shop owner.
Looks good to me. Nice pattern with about 4.0ms of on time. A nice injector turn off spike and we know it is not clogged due to the "pintle hump". Let me point out the pintle hump.
This is the pintle hump. This is the actual mechanical closing of the injector viewed through the scope. No pintle hump and typically the injector is clogged or damaged mechanically. Some pintle hump injector patterns will not be so defined. It is something I look at when looking at injector scope patterns. I inform the shop owner to get a quality COP unit and spark plug for #3 cylinder. I also advise to check the rest of the plugs as well.
 Just to go the low tech route as well I put my open gap style spark tester on #3 COP unit start the vehicle and we have no spark.

More pictures of "chia pet" modules

Remember last time when I told you about another van that had an EPA issue. Well here it is after the shop helper cleaned it with some bleach. Remember, this is after!
Here is the vinyl mat lifted up. The helper did an excellent job of cleaning. This vehicle is going to need at the very least a new SDM, setup, and repair of the rotted harness.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Subaru BRZ GT300 set to take on SuperGT

Subaru BRZ GT300 set to take on SuperGT

<Even though Toyota got the better looking car out of the Frankenstein Subaru Toyota deal, This is amazing... but I am more excited to see the Toyota GT300>

Less than five minutes after entering the new home of the Tokyo Motor Show, we're greeted with this: the Subaru BRZ GT300 race car.

Designed to compete in the GT300 class of Japan's SuperGT touring car series, the BRZ is set to replace the Legacy B4 that's competed in the series for the last two years. Being a GT300 contender, the BRZ's output will be limited to 300 horsepower and judging by the "Proud of Boxer" stickers flanking the front and rear, it's sure to be packing some manner of flat four, likely displacing around two liters.

Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept

Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept

Subaru had provided early sketches of its Advanced Tourer Concept, and many of you in the comments weren't confident that it would look as good in real life as it did in (digital) ink and paper. Dare we say it, but we think it looks better in the metal than it did in drawings. A mean, ground-hugging wagon with a 1.6-liter boxer-hybrid powertrain, its internals are close enough to production to make the jump in the not-too-distant.

Its interior, however, is another matter. Undeniably beautiful, features like the monitor in the steering wheel and the steel-rimmed wood pedals are treats we won't be seeing anytime soon. No matter – if there were to be a wagon in our future, we'd hope this were it.

Nissan Juke takes to the dirt against the Eyesore Racing Datsun 510

Nissan Juke takes to the dirt against the Eyesore Racing Datsun 510

Eyesore Racing Datsun 510

Forty years, countless miles, a corporate name change and untold heaps of abuse separate Dave Coleman's 1971 Eyesore Racing Datsun 510 from the 2011 Nissan Juke. But that didn't stop the guys from Inside Line from pitting the two distant cousins against each other in a gravel there-and-back race over a little more than a mile. The beater 510 has plenty of rally class wins under its belt and has been prepared to tackle the worst a stage can throw at it. There's a full cage on board as well as plenty of skid plates, and everything else has been gutted in the name of weight savings.

The Juke, meanwhile, is a bonafide street-legal commuter. Where the 510 has race harnesses, the Juke has airbags, but it also has the benefit of all-wheel drive on its side. How did the two fair on the impromptu rally course? We won't ruin the surprise for you, but we will say that the show down was closer than we would have thought.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe Part 2

Volkswagen Cross Coupe 

Part 2

Lets just say.. I really like this car. I will be following the development of this concept very closely and hope that it will come to market.