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Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

Posted October 31, 2016 11:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Discussion favorite mazda Miata

It happened again today. After two days of harping by a reader on the Mazda Miata’s “blandness,” I felt compelled to chime in, speaking in defense of “the finest British roadster to ever come out of Hiroshima, Japan,” in the words of our own David LaChance.

Those who’ve driven a Miata in a proper sporting manner understand that this car may be many things, but bland isn’t one of them. Its styling may be too “cute” for some, and it may be slow in a straight line, but its balance and handling are sublime. Few cars in the Miata’s price bracket allow a drive to carry speed into a corner with equal confidence, which is why it’s become the most-raced car in the world.

Make a mistake (like gently lifting off the throttle, at the limit, in mid-corner), and the Miata corrects your stupidity with a slap on the wrist. Larger and more powerful sports cars (an air-cooled Porsche 911 or a Chevrolet Corvette, for example), would counter with a punch to the face, followed, perhaps, by a kick to the teeth.

This author has a soft spot for the maligned Miata. What care has earned your respect, but maybe not everyone's?

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#1

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

10/31/2016 12:15 PM

VW diesels.

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#8
In reply to #1

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 10:58 AM

O Yea, Owner of a 1982 VW Diesel Vanagon Westy Camper with a 1998 Jetta AHU 1.9TDi motor setup. Upgrade to a K03/K04 Hybrid Turbo. Pending chipping setup. Been running about 135 hp with 245 torque lbs. Looking to get 165 hp with 300 Torque. This is using a 4 speed Manual Transaxle. Concern with over working and temp of the transaxle. Gearing is stock 1st & 2nd. 3rd 1.14, 4th .70 with the R&P .457. Family of 5 = parents & 3 young kids - 5, 2 at 3 years old. Looking to pull teardrop trailer average 1500 lbs. Living in Arizona, looking to drive up mountain roads. Any input welcome. Thanks in advance. If this not proper please forgive and disregard.

Scott Greiner

Mesa, AZ

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#2

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

10/31/2016 1:03 PM

How could anyone not love a Miata. I have my third one.

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#9
In reply to #2

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 5:43 PM

Yeah, but if it's not fiberglass, it's still just transportation.

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#16
In reply to #9

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/02/2016 2:50 PM

It's aluminum, light and nimble, and fun to drive.

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#3

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

10/31/2016 2:15 PM

When it comes to vehicles, or any equipment for that matter, I tend to play to the offensive side far more than defensive.

When someone claims something of a marginal or outrightly ancient design is superior yet every experienced opinion and example clearly says otherwise I like to dig into the issue and see what they have for a/any valid defences of said well known design limitation/flaw.

A good example relating to this is a tractor fix I came up with yesterday and posted to a forum that deals with that brand. Simply put a weak design in the tractor drivetrain allows for a small oil seep (1 - 2 table spoons in a long hard workday) to disable a questionably made and needed primary safety component (torque limiting slip clutch on the engine output) rendering the whole tractor useless.

The factory fix requires a lengthy and rather now expensive job of splitting the whole 9+ ton tractor in half to get to the problem. I however figured out that if a small ~5" x 8" access hole is cut in the belly of the tractor (~1/4" thick non structural casting area) the slipping issue can be fixed in under 2 hours with nothing more than 6 thin washers to shim up the spring plate so it grabs the clutch tighter so it works the way it should even if it's soaked with oil.

Now the interesting thing is in taking the offensive to this issue the tractor brand defenders have nothing to say about the easy fix but, OMG, that 5" x8" hole in a nonstructural location has them so uptight that you would think I just cut the whole tractor in half and not just my tractor every tractor of that brand causing the downfall of the whole brand (that's obviously been failing for the last 30+ years now due to continual poor corporate management, sales and service and equipment designs that are difficult and expensive to work on and with.)

My technical skills, engineering skills, workmanship, you name it are under fire for cutting that hole in my tractor. A hole that I might add is a common standard part of every other tractor of the same size and design, except for the models that are like mine that have the unserviceable master slip clutch in that position instead of a normal mechanical driveline clutch.

For the whole story.

AC torque limiter adjustment. In Tractor.

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#5
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Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 2:33 AM

Good, quick fix. I like your idea of drilling 2 large holes next to each other. Perhaps slightly apart so that a 4" pipe nipple can be welded around each hole and a plug screwed in to stop dirt ingress. AC should have cast in an oval inspection hatch as per air receivers and boilers. That tech. has been around a long time. Jim

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#6
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Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 8:34 AM

The picture doesn't show two large holes, it shows a large rectangular like hole cut with a grinder.

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#10
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Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 8:21 PM

G'day Tony. When he made the cut out he didn't know what the casting was like in that area. After cutting that piece out he found that it was quite thin. He had several attackers saying that the corners were stress raisers. TCM agreed and said that it didn't matter but also that he may grind the corners out in the near future. I read all the comments in his blog and near the end TCM said that if he were to do this again, knowing what he now knows, he would either drill holes in the corners or drill two large intersecting holes and cut off the remaining points. It was the last option that i took a step further by separating the holes. One access hole to hold the flywheel and the other to put the spanner through. Of course, i don't know the job and so i fully expect TCM to say that it wouldn't work. That doesn't stop me from making the suggestion. Jim

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#13
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Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 9:59 PM

No. Your pretty much dead on in your analysis.

This was definitely an exploratory surgery job and it will get cleaned up when I get back to it to make a cover plate.

Also the picture angle and contrasts of the paint and ground metal makes it look way rougher than it actually is. What look like deep over cuts in the corners are barely 1/16" deep at worst and mostly just from the grinder grabbing and overshooting once it started to break through.

With some basic finish grinding to straighten up the sides and a bit of die grinder cutting to radius the corners and some paint I could also pass this off as a little known factory service bulletin update job.

As for the attackers I now see them as clearly being little more than puttering old fools who like to bully people who think differently that they do. Especially people who come up with cheap simple fixes to well known and rather costly common problems with their 'infallible and perfectly designed' machines and post them for the world to see!

(Although it would be nice to see a few of the more tenacious heavy hitters of various applied engineering disciplines from here go over there and pick and kick the living intellectual stuffing out of them and their reasonings behind what they say for a while like they love to do to everyone else who disagrees with them. )

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#14
In reply to #10

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 11:07 PM

Jim, OK, I understand now. G'day, mate. ( saying g'day is kind of fun )

This response is off topic.

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#11
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Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 9:21 PM

This was very much an exploratory surgery job.

If I have to do it to another tractor the hole will be done much neater and more professionally. The way things ended up were largely due to the unknowns and educated guesswork of poking a hole in something for the first time without any real idea what may be behind it.

When you have to do exploratory surgery based on educated guesses things tend to initially come out quite rough the first time around. In this case grinding allowed for a more controlled penetration than running a large bi metal hole saw and its pilot bit into it would have given me.

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 10:18 AM

Some folks simply hate it when you think of something they didn't.

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#4

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 12:06 AM

I don't know anything about your tractor ( you didn't mention what the model # was ).

Is the tractor paid for ? I think you said you could get $1500 for it at the scrap yard. Is this your first Alli's Chalmers ? Is the leaking seal a common issue ? Do all tractors comparable to your size and type require, " splitting the tractor in half ", to fix this issue ? Do other tractors have an inspection plate in this area, so using I grinder to cut a hole is not necessary ?

When you fabricate a cover plate, can you show us your draft & finished piece.

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#12
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Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/01/2016 9:42 PM

It's our second and largest by HP AC tractor and by far the one that was in the worst shape when we got it.

Right now local unprepared scrap is ~$45 a ton and it a ~9 ton tractor so I would barely brake the $400 mark today but when scrap prices were up like the were year or so ago I would have easily gotten $160+ a ton which would have put it scrap value in that $1500 range.

As for the seal leaks and other torque limiter issues everything I have read about these models that have them are they are a total pain in the ass and continual problem to deal with.

There are several guys on that forum that have openly talked about, in other threads, having been into their own tractors every year or two to continually fix leaks and replace the torque limiter assy. Usually $1000+ a shot at their local shops back in the 80's - 90's when they ran them as their primary work machines. However the puttering 'armchair engineering experts who have to ask questions aobut how to change oil on their own tractors' will tell you otherwise.

As for the inspection plates, Yes on any other model in any other brand that runs a normal mechanical clutch on the back of the flywheel its standard design to have access port either on the bottom, side or top to get into that area for clutch and linkage related inspection and service work. I've never seen one without such a port.

Also, from what I can see of this design it does have a substantial structural rib going all around the outside of the thin casting area I cut into which in my books says that this transmission case was designed and cast to possibly have a port and removable plate in that area or at least it could easily accept having a 'damn big hole' cut in that area without compromising any structural integrity.

That's my reasoning anyway.

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#15

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/02/2016 1:30 PM

Apparently they really didn't like my solution (and calling out a few members on their false claims and proving they were in fact wrong multiple times) over there.

I've been banned!

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#17
In reply to #15

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/02/2016 6:01 PM

Being banned is quite the badge of honor. That means you really struck a nerve. Congratulations!

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Open Diff: What Car Are You Constantly Defending?

11/02/2016 9:02 PM

Especially to get tossed without a warning or explanation too!

Most of it came down to me taking the offensive with a few blustering buffoon trolls they have over there. I kept calling them out on their crap every chance I got to the point they apparently had to report me to the admin for being mean and insulting or something. I learned to play their game better than they could and they didn't like it.

It would appear that many Allis Chalmers collectors have the same mentality as their corporate counterparts.

"It's not us and our terrible service/support that's ruined our reputation and company. It's everyone else who goes and buys other brands that have what we won't give that did it."

BTW, If you really want to wind them up mention that when someone says 'Orange Tractors' you think of Kubota not agco/Allis.

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