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Posts posted by williaty

  1. FWIW, as long as you're a little cautious with your loading and resulting total vehicle weight, you're better off searching for 205/55R16 tires (if you have a 16" wheel). They're the stock size for a HUUUUUGE era of Subaru variants, including the various Impreza models. When I looked for winter tires after buying my van, the offerings in the stock size sucked. So I moved tires over from my previous Impreza (Dunlop Wintersport 4Ds, highly recommended). I did the same thing the following spring with summer tires (Bridgestone Potenza Pole Position S-04, also highly recommended).

  2. 17 minutes ago, Fifty150 said:



    I was just there.  Service advisor said that he thinks that the perimeter lights can only be disabled on van models, not wagons.  I'm hoping that the techs know more than the service advisors.  

    I have a 2014 XLT wagon. I took it in early in the year. They updated the BCM and turned the damned headlights/taillights off for me. The cabin lights I can switch off with the ceiling switches. The only thing I can't disable is the dash illumination, which still stubbornly stays on after the doors have been opened/shut.


    So yeah, it can be done to wagons.

  3. 1 hour ago, Fifty150 said:


    1 hour ago, Fifty150 said:



    CA is an at will employment state, but the unions are still very powerful.  They lobby the politicians at every level to keep certain jobs as union jobs.  Even the government employees are unionized.  A lot of government contracts are only awarded to bidders with union employees.  Unfortunately, for some jobs, there is no option out.  If you want to work there, you have to be in the union.  In some cases, the union does not benefit the worker, and union led negotiations result in the workers taking a cut back in wages and/or benefits.  

    Huh, that's a strange world to me! After working as a mechanic and even owning my own shop for a decade, I had no idea there was a union.

  4. Dealer problems ARE Ford problems. All of the makes are perfectly capable of forcing their dealerships to toe the company line on business ethics. When a dealer feels safe to pull a stunt like they're doing with you, it's because they know they won't face consequences from the mothership. It's been the same way with the Ford dealerships I've had to visit in the last year with this van. All of them know they can get away with ripping you off or just providing bad service. With my wife's current foreign car, a dealer tech screwed up badly though not as bad as your current experience. Without us doing anything other than saying "hey, there's a problem you created, we need you to fix it", we got a formal apology from the dealer, a formal apology from the manufacturer, a loaner car until the repair was complete, and the manufacturer paid 3 months of the loan off for us. The tech who did it was, of course, fired and the dealership lost whatever that make's equivalent for Ford's "certified Blue Oval" status was for a year before they were allowed to re-certify (though I STRONGLY suspect we were merely the straw that broke the camel's back on that one and they'd been naughty before).

  5. The more I hear about Ford and what they let their dealers get away with, the more sure I become that this will be the only Ford I ever own. I specialized in Subarus with my shop but I worked on most makes of Japanese vehicles from time to time. In working with the dealers and factory for parts and information, I NEVER ran into the kind of bullshit I have with Ford in just a year of owning my van. None of my customers ever had this kind of crazy story either. Sometimes a dealer would try to cut a corner but a call to the factory rep always brought down the wrath of god.


    Going from Japanese made vehicles to an American made (corporate culture, even though the van was made in Europe) has been a hell of a downgrade.

  6. I'm willing to pay for you to box it up and ship it if you're willing to make the effort.


    I was interested in this before but I couldn't figure out how to attach it to my van since I don't have the upper hooks. At $250, that was too big of a gamble. If your'e just going to throw it out, I'll pay you to get it to me and then take whatever time is necessary to figure out what parts I need to buy and what holes I have to cut in my headliner to make it work.

  7. 41 minutes ago, Beta Don said:

    The owners manual doesn't seem to think that's what it's for  -  Under 'Principal of Operation' it says "If the wheels spin when accelerating on slippery or loose surfaces, the system reduces engine power in order to increase traction"  -  Wheels, not one front wheel vs the other


    The computer knows the front wheels are slipping because they're comparing the rotation speed of the front vs the rear wheels


    I don't know about Ford, but on my electric cars, a 2% change in tire size front to rear will disable both traction control and regenerative braking because the computer thinks the drive axle is traction impaired.  At any rate, with a 7% change it would probably be a good idea to disable that feature


    New cars are sure much pickier about such things than 'old school' cars



    The owner's manual is never a reliable source for technical information. It wasn't written by an engineer and wasn't even written by anyone who knows what an engineer is.


    I tested the TCS by putting the front end of the car on the dyno and it had no problem with the rear tires not rolling when the front wheels turned. No activation of the TCS system. I added a jack to one side to reduce the contact pressure on one front wheel and the TCS system freaked out the moment the lifted wheel started to slip. Ergo, it doesn't care what the rear wheels are doing but it cares intensely about the front. If I have to deal with the stupid crap the computer wants to do, I'll at least go to significant effort to map out exactly what it cares about and doesn't care about. Interestingly, I bumped the brake pedal while doing this and the ABS/VSC system instantly freaked out because it thought the rear end was locked up and sliding.


    I'm not at all surprised an electric or hybrid vehicle would do that. They're NOTORIOUS for being easy to get stuck because the moment one wheel slightly diverges from the others the whole thing shuts down and cries. We had a guy try to use his Prius for road rallies here. He kept getting stuck because putting the right side wheels off the road when he pulled over for checkpoints was often enough to freak out the computer and make the car refuse to move itself. It was ridiculous because you could push the car by hand about 6" to get all 4 wheels loaded evenly again and suddenly the car was happy.

  8. 1 hour ago, Beta Don said:

    Also, unless you are using a similar size (diameter) tire on the front , using a 7%+ too large tire on the rear is going to cause the traction control computer fits  -  You'll need to turn that off

    The Traction Control System is primarily looking at wheel speed imbalances between the front two wheels (I did some testing to confirm this). The TCS is the one you can turn off via the menu system in the dash. The Vehicle Stability Control system is looking at what all 4 wheels are doing, plus steering angle, yaw angle, and a bunch of other stuff and, sadly, it can't be turned off in the Connect. I really, really wish it could be because it's a ball and chain around the ankle of a competent driver in the snow :(


    That said, I don't know if a 7% difference will be enough to piss it off. You can get a 7% difference in effective rolling circumference just by dicking with the tire inflation so it may be able to ignore things that small.

  9. 2 hours ago, Beta Don said:

    Typically, the solid rear axle on most RWD vehicles also includes the considerable weight of the differential and half the weight of the driveshaft, which we don't have to deal with, so no big deal (IMO) if he were to add a few pounds to the unsprung weight of the rear axle  -  It's already super-light, by comparison


    I'm very familiar with lightweight wheels and the bad effects of high unsprung weights.  My Miata has 9 pound wheels made by BBS in Germany and they are shod with 15 pound Bridgestone tires . . . . for a total of 24 pounds per corner.  But the Miata is not a truck, and for all intents and purposes, my TC is



    As someone who, until recently, designed suspensions professionally, even a few pounds of unsprung weight is a big deal. The fact that the solid rear axle design is slightly lighter than a solid, live rear axle design doesn't make it a good design. That's like trying to say it's ok because you caught the good leprosy. Unsprung weight is one of the few design factors where the ONLY correct number is 0 and anything other than that is bad. The farther you are away from 0, the worse it gets. It dramatically affects the ability of the tire to track the road which leads to big changes in road-holding. This is, obviously, a handling issue but what everyone forgets is that it's also a safety issue. Cars with well optimized suspension stop better, swerve better, and are less likely to roll over. All of these things may someday make the difference between avoiding a crash and being in a life-threatening accident. Simply put, cars with better performing suspension are safer than cars compromised in the name of cost (and under the shield of customer ignorance).


    If you guys remember when Ford brought out the new pickup trucks, they did a series of videos with Mike Rowe comparing the Ford to the competitors. They showed the trucks driving over various test tracks and real world scenarios showing how much better the Ford did than the competition. One of the big things that the videos shows was that (even though they're all using stone age technology) the Ford truck's suspension was better optimized and produced better real world results. So even in trucks, this stuff matters.


    For that matter, even without the pumpkin, the solid rear axle is an antiquated design that should have been abandoned for all non-haulage uses around the time we got rid of steam trains. Fully independent suspension should be the only default for a passenger vehicle (and remember, these things are basically a Focus with a box on top). The problem is that a solid, undriven rear axle is cheap. Ford made the gamble that most of their consumers are uneducated about basic engineering (which is definitely true. Americans love cars but know, on average, staggeringly little about how they work) and simply wouldn't know any better. You see the same cost-cutting design in other small, cheap cars.


    To bring this back to a context for this forum (though admittedly straying from the discussion of unsprung weight), the Connect has a solid rear axle while the... crap, whatever Dodge is calling the Fiat Doblo here in the US... has fully independent suspension. I was able to find a dealer that had both (company owned a Ford and Dodge dealership on the same parking lot) and test drive them repeatedly back to back in the hills of Appalachia. The Doblo's rear end was SUBSTANTIALLY better controlled than the Connect's and the Doblo also was much more comfortable to ride in (my Connect doesn't smooth out in the rear end until I get about 600lbs of payload in the back). From a ride quality and handling viewpoint, the Doblo was vastly superior to the Connect. However, the Doblo's windshield stopped so low that I couldn't see traffic lights when I pulled up to the stop bar, so the Connect won the shootout because of that.

  10. 5 hours ago, OLDSCHOOLFOOL said:


    Out of curiosity I looked up the weights and its actually a 1 pound net improvement over the factory steel wheels with factory tires. Pretty much a wash.

    16x6.5 steel (25 lbs.) + 215/55R16 (23 lbs.)

    16x7 aluminum (20 lbs.) + 275/45R16 (27 lbs.)

    Holy crap those are HEAVY! Most OEM 16x6.5 wheels that I'm used to working with are in the 16-17lbs range. I have never before heard of wheels that small weighing that much. I have to say that coming to an American car after specializing in Japanese cars is like taking a step back into the past. I'm constantly shocked by stuff like this.


    So yeah, you definitely got away with that without much penalty.


    1lb increase in unsprung weight is actually a big deal but, after all, this is not a performance vehicle so the only downside is going to be the ride. Now... get a 16.5lbs wheel with a 20lbs tire and drop off about 10lbs per tire and I bet you'd actually notice a big improvement in the ride and handling! I know where to find cheap wheels that light in 5x100 but I haven't looked for them in 5x108 so I don't know if they exist.

  11. Typically, sidewall and carcass construction change round about the 50 aspect ratio to cope with the considerably higher abuse that comes from running a shorter sidewall. Makes the tires less likely to stay on the wheel if you try to shoehorn them onto a too-small wheel.


    Why are you trying to go that wide on undriven wheels? You'll just be increasing the unsprung mass, which is always a bad thing, but is a REALLY bad thing on a solid rear axle like this.

  12. As soon as the weather turned, I swapped the stock crap all-seasons for the winter tires off the Subaru Impreza I had just sold. So the van is running Dunlop Wintersport 4D tires for this winter. Even with good winter tires on it, I am astonished how utterly useless this van is in the snow! It won't go, it won't stop, and it won't turn. It's so bad that, no joke, I can't even get of my own driveway in bad weather. The stability control system also actually prevents a good driver from being able to maximize his chances of avoiding an accident. I'm


    Moving past that, if you stay in the 205/55R16 size you probably stole off your Subaru, you have options like the Wintersport or other "high performance winter" tires if your local winters are mostly cold and dry, or rainy, with only a couple of snow days a year. If you have more frequent snow, the General Altimax Arctic are VERY good snow tires. They're a tire design General bought from Gislavd, so they're serious hard core nordic snow tires. They're what I used to use for our winter rally events. However, like the Blizzaks you're annoyed at now, the prices for near-invicinble snow grip is that they're like driving on pudding if the road is dry.

  13. Yeah I just went through something similar. I looked at the really staggeringly poor options available in the stock Connect size (they're basically all all-seasons, which are universally crap) and gave up. I decided to switch to 205/55R16 which, since the Subaru Impreza has been using that size for close to 2 decades, there's a huge array of high quality tires available and they're widely stocked.

  14. 1 hour ago, Don Ridley said:


    Does the titanium plate reduce the temperature due to lower thermal conductivity (about 1/2 of steel) or due to the mechanical separation and poor heat transfer?

    The lower thermal conductivity is the big one. The additional joint probably inhibits transfer a little as well, but with 5 fine-thread lugs torqued relatively high, the clamping forces are huge and the joints are pretty damned tight, so I'm not sure it has a meaningful effect.

  15. I realize this bit of the discussion was a while ago but...


    Speaking as someone with a suspension design background, increasing unsprung mass is ALWAYS the wrong choice. Unsprung mass is anything that's between the road and the springs so we're talking tire, wheel, rotor, hub, knuckle, caliper, half the strut, etc. Increased unsprung mass always makes it harder for the suspension to track the road resulting in less performance, less safety, and greater risk of crashing.


    If the truth is that the bearing is under-sized for the job, then realistically the impacts don't matter. The extended dynamic loads during cornering and going to be putting more wear on the bearings than hitting normal bumps in the road. If you want to try to do something to soften the impacts anyway, the only thing you can do is to move to a smaller wheel and run a tire with a taller sidewall. Shock loading of the unsprung mass, and the entire chassis for that matter, is inversely proportional to sidewall compliance (taller sidewalls flex more easily). Taller sidewall, smoother ride. Find out if 15" wheels will clear the brakes and then run tall tires.


    More likely, if the TCs are experiencing a higher failure rate than the Focus on the identical part numbers heat is to blame. The van is heavier and all that extra energy gets converted to heat each time you stop. Most of that heat goes into the front brakes. For another car with major wheel bearing problems (Subaru Impreza), I helped develop a solution that dramatically increased bearing life. We simply made thin (around 1mm) titanium spacers to go between the brake rotor and the face of the hub. The shims resulted in dramatically less heat transfer during braking from the rotor to the bearings. By keeping the bearings cooler, they lasted longer. A LOT longer.


  16. As background, until very recently, this is what I did professionally. This is the advice I gave every single one of my customers:


    If you're going to try to add significant power to a modern non-turbo vehicle, it isn't going to be quick, it isn't going to be easy, and it isn't going to be cheap.




    For normally aspirated engines (and to a lesser extent, also forced induction engines), power and fuel efficiency come from the same things. Because manufacturers are obsessed with trying to meet CAFE requirements, they have already done ALL the quick, cheap, and easy things that make power because those are the things that make better fuel efficiency. In fact, CAFE standards have gotten to the point where the manufacturers are starting do to things that are expensive and difficult just because there's nothing left (I'm looking at you, dual-active valvetrains that are used to run non-Otto cycle combustion routines). The stock tunes are usually also a hair's breadth away from turning the engine into a grenade. The manufacturers have already picked all the low hanging fruit. By the time the vehicle gets released to the public, there aren't any cheap and easy things to do that make an additional 5hp let alone a bigger gain. When a vendor tells you their simple, affordable product can make big power gains, be very, very suspicious. There's a dozen ways to cheat on a dyno to make it show gains you want and another two dozen ways to make a mistake that causes it to show a gain without you even realizing you screwed up. The number of shops out there that actually know how to get repeatable numbers out of a chassis dyno is tiny. Like if you're in the industry you can be on a first name basis with all the guys who run them level of tiny. So when Injen, AEM, K&N, etc tell you their part makes power, don't trust and definitely verify.


    So what's left to do in the aftermarket? Stuff that's hard or stuff that's expensive. Usually both at the same time. Sure, if you want an extra 20hp, I can change the robot-made crappy stock exhaust header that cost the OEM $10 to make to a hand-built, mandrel bent, tig welded, equal length header with properly made collectors and a ton of engineering and dyno time behind it. It's going to cost you $1400 though.  On the induction side, I'll make a blanket statement and say the odds of you finding a modern (last 5 years) car out there that can show honest gains from an intake with no other work is worse than the odds of winning the lotto. Why? Because intakes are easy to design and cheap to produce thanks to the magic we can do with plastic now. The OEMs can make an intake that can flow more air than the engine can eat, fully suppress the induction noise, fit whatever weird assed packaging concerns are going on in the engine bay, and be damned cheap. Similar story with tuning. The OEMs ship non-turbo tunes that are within a gnat's ass of blowing the engine up and run reliably only because the adaptive strategies for AFR control and timing control are so impressively good. You can't just tune in more power anymore (though you can tune in a hell of a lot more drivability and returning the ECU is often worth it for that reason alone). That's if there's even sufficient access to your ECU and the ROM in it to properly re-tune the engine. Piggyback systems no longer are effective. You can, of course, go stand-alone but that's getting to be nearly impossible in CANBUS cars where you don't want to lose all the functionality that we take for granted in a modern car. When the car is a network of several dozen computers, ripping out the brain and replacing it with a 3rd-party stand-alone ECU tends to cause almost everything else to stop working.


    Adding on a turbo kit is one of the few potential exceptions. However, the kit has to use a correctly sized turbo, take into account all the packaging concerns for turbo oil flow, turbo coolant flow, exhaust flow in and out of the turbo, induction flow through the turbo, proper boost regulation and of course re-tuning the ECU to take advantage of the additional air flow (if the ECU can even handle positive manifold pressures!). There are maybe 5 companies worldwide that regularly release rock-solid, good as OEM turbo kits. Ebay and Amazon kits need not apply.


    Generally, if you have a non-turbo engine, the only really viable, cost effective, and reliable solution is to swap in the turbo powertrain from a higher-spec trim level of the same car. Drop an STi motor into a 2.5RS, drop a Focus RS motor into a base model, etc. However, you're going to need the engine and every damned thing that supports it, the wiring harness, the ECU, various electronic modules, very often the transmission and everything associated with it, etc. Again, not quick, cheap, or easy but it is often the only affordable way to double (or more) the horsepower of a base model non-turbo. I think the most extreme example of that was one project I was partially involved with that took a chassis that had the 165hp non-turbo engine in it and swapping that out to the highest-spec turbo engine, then modding the hell out of that, and ending up with a mill that made just at 800hp at the wheels and over 900 lbf-ft of torque (weird numbers due to restrictor plate). It had proper anti-lag and launch control on it, so you'd be sitting waiting for the green and have ~800lbf-ft of torque at "idle" (which was close to 4kRPM) to launch with. Of course, that car also had a sponsorship from a turbo company to afford to keep feeding it a new turbo every 2nd event due to the anti-lag destroying it.