Thursday, October 13, 2016

Project SJK: Restoring a Classic Suzuki SJ410k Pickup

Project SJK

Have you ever wanted to do an automotive restoration but simply didn't think you had the skills to do it? Well there's only one way to get experience, and that's by diving in and doing it. That's exactly what Omri Ginzburg did with his Suzuki SJ410k restoration project.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Resuscitating the Teal Terror

The Teal Terror in Moab

As you may remember, the Teal Terror's crankshaft is buggered up. Consequently, it's been sitting since its fateful flatbed ride back to Portland in June. Since determining the problem, I've been getting the necessary parts to attempt to resuscitate the trucklet. In fact, I just got off the phone with the local Mitsubishi dealer (and former Suzuki dealer) and ordered the final piece: a new center crankshaft bolt.

So what's the plan?

Loctite Hysol 1CI'll clean up the crank snout with a file and some carb cleaner; get it as close to "OK" as possible. After some serious research and consulting with others who have had this issue, I purchased a product from Loctite called Hysol 1C. This is an industrial epoxy that bonds to metal. I called Loctite and described the situation, and it appears this will be the best product since I actually need to fill in a small area, and the product needs to be chemical and heat resistant.

Next, I'll take the new woodruff key I bought, mix up some Hysol 1C, and set the key in the slot. I'll then let it cure for the appropriate amount of time, and hope it sets correctly.

Next up, I'll take the bolt I ordered from Suzuki, install it into the crank snout, torque it to the appropriate number, and then attempt to reinstall everything. Lord, I hope I remembered to put all the parts back in the right area.

The bottom line is this: Many people have fixed their crankshafts this way. Hopefully, this fix—which has coast less than $50—will solve the problem, and we can get the Teal Terror running again. Previous people who have done similar things have gone as many as 80,000 miles with this fix. It's certainly cheaper than a new engine. And if it fails? Well, it'll probably fail badly since this is an interference engine. However, the engine would've needed to be replaced anyhow, so we wouldn't really be out anything other than $50. And, frankly, we will likely part ways with the 4x4 after it's fixed (or, God help us, the fix doesn't hold).

We're now +1 with our Jeep Cherokee project over at Crankshaft Culture, and something's got to go. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We first need to get this to work.

Wish us luck!

Driving a Mitsubishi Delica

Mitsubishi Delica

We've been long fans of the Mitsubishi Delica. While over in New Zealand last month, we got the chance to put some miles ... er ... kilometers on a 4WD, diesel-powered, manual transmission-equipped Mitsubishi Delica. It was pretty awesome. It's like a space tractor with all the technology of a VCR. And it was awesome.

Read more at Crankshaft Culture.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Video Review: 2016 Honda Civic 1.5T 2D Touring

Not too long ago, Scott reviewed the 2016 Honda Civic Touring Sedan, complete with the all-new 1.5-liter turbocharged, direct-injected Earth Dreams engine. Now, we'll show you the coupe version of Civic Touring model in a retina-burning shade of green. This is our first attempt at a video review, so let's keep the heckling down to a minimum.

THE BASICS: 2016 Honda Civic Sedan Touring 1.5T 2D Touring
MSRP As Tested: $26,960
Engine: 1.5-liter DOHC turbocharged 4 cyl.
Transmission: CVT
Horsepower: 174
Torque:s 162 lb/ft
Curb Weight: 2,888 lbs.
Wheelbase: 106.3
Overall Length: 176.9"
Suspension: F: MacPherson Struts
R: Multilink 
Brakes: F: Disc w/ABS
R: Disc w/ABS
Wheels: 17" alloys
Tires: 215/50/17
Fuel Economy (MPG): 31 city, 35 combined, 41 highway
Fuel Type: Regular 87 octane

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Spark Looks Good in Mint

2017 Chevrolet Spark Mint

I just logged onto Chevrolet's website to see if there was any info about the 2017 Spark, and low and behold there is. I didn't notice any ground-breaking new tech or features; the car is in its second model year in this style. However, I was immediately drawn to this color.

2017 Chevrolet Spark Mint color
Chevy calls this color "Mint," and frankly, it looks really good on this car. There aren't many cars that get away with such an odd color. Call it sea foam, call it call it pale green/blue, I call it great. I know the Fiat 500 comes in a similar color called Latte Menta (Lightest Green), and it works on that little retro runabout, too.

We still haven't driven a new Spark, but still want to. Regardless, I'm glad to see some smaller cars offering interesting color choices.

Do you like the color? Sound off in the comments.

Monday, August 22, 2016

July 2016 Subcompact Car Sales

May 2016 Subcompact Car SalesWell, it's better late than never, right? After receiving an email asking where the subcompact sales data was, I realized that people actually do look at this data and anticipate it. I apologize for my tardiness ... here goes!

July's sales data is pretty mixed. About half the field did well, half the field didn't. The biggest winner was MINI's Convertible up a healthy 97.1%, although with only 536 units sold, any blips will shoot the percentage way up. Hyundai had a sizable 64.8% gain with its Accent, BMW's electric i3 charged things up 58.1%, and Jeeps super-hot Renegade also was up to the tune of 57%.

MINI might be at the top of the list, but it's also at the bottom with its 2DR hardtop, down 67.2%—a big drop. It should be noted overall sales of the 2D are down more than 44%. Also skimming the bottom were both the Toyota Prius c and the Toyota Yaris, with the c down 60.1% and the Yaris down 43.4%. The bigger news here is that the Yaris, which has remained largely unchanged for many years, currently has the biggest year-to-date sales drop of 47.6%.

2017 Fiat Spider
2017 Fiat Spider
Of the newer models, the Scion iA is selling pretty darn well moving more than 19,400 units year to date, Mazda's pint-sized CX-3 Crossover continues to plunk along, and MINI's Clubman, which is more enormous than ever, has moved 5,487 cars. We also added the Fiat Spider to the list, which has now sold 481 units, one more unit than last month. It will be interesting to see how the Fiat sells against the Mazda MX-5 Miata, since the Fiat Spider is, of course, based on the Mazda architecture, but with that angry-sounding Fiat 1.4-turbo.

Make/Model% July. '16 vs '15Units July '16% YTD June '16 Vs. '15Units YTD
MINI Cooper /S Convertible97.153619.62366
Hyundai Accent64.8704615.246376
BMW i358.11479-19.14359
Jeep Renegade57.010057211.061907
Chevrolet Trax54.9946624.838601
Kia Rio49.633319.418669
Chevrolet Spark28.74229-0.822520
Honda Fit25.45432-17.932817
Honda HR-V25.17394118.643837
Nissan Versa19.2118569.684317
MINI Countryman18.21422-18.870702
Smart Fortwo11.8493-24.13086
Buick Encore1.469231643344
Fiat 500X1.09505147481
Honda CR-Z0.7272-5.41477
Hundai Veloster-2.5200812.614931
Chevrolet Sonic-5.14844-21.333136
Kia Soul-5.9131572.183685
MINI Cooper /S Hardtop 4 DR-10.8924-22.17243
Mitsubishi Mirage-17.61280-414453
Mazda MX-5 Miata-22.088165.66265
Ford Fiesta-25.54092-27.729631
Fiat 500L-28.0227-582527
Nissan Juke-33.21568-16.914124
Fiat 500-43.01097-448857
Toyota Yaris-43.4794-47.67378
Toyota Prius c-60.11402-42.212975
MINI Cooper /S Hardtop 2 DR-67.2813-44.67053
Scion iA300719434
Mazda CX-3149911001
MINI Clubman
Fiat Spider480481

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Crankshaft Culture Cherokee Gets Underway

Over at our other site, Crankshaft Culture, we're hard at work on our 2001 Jeep Cherokee project. A host of parts have showed up, some of which have been installed, some of which are being installed, and some of which are residing under our living room couch. We also may or may not have seven 31x10.50 Yokohama tires stacked up in our entryway. Garage? Who needs a garage!

Read more ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: 2016 Volkswagen Golf R ... In The Snow

2016 VW Golf R in the snow

Why is there a Golf R in the snow in August? Because this piece was originally written in spring ... in Canada. - Andy

By Spencer Whitney - SCC Editorial Staff

There are very few compact cars that tick every box on this writer's wish list. When shopping for a new ride you might start out with several must-haves, but ultimately there's a lot of compromises that happen between walking on to the lot and actually signing the papers. Fast cars aren't always well made (Lancer Evo, we're looking at you) and sporty cars aren't always fast.

But every once in a while a vehicle comes along that seems to offer something special and unexpected, almost as if it was a side project that rogue engineers somehow slipped past the bean counters. Germany has consistently created incredibly powerful cars, unfortunately at a price point far beyond the average consumer. What if there was something out there for the rest of us, with enough power and flair to blow away everything else in its class?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Like all kinds of cars? Check out Crankshaft Culture

You know we love small cars. Duh. However, we love all cars—something we've said from the get go—and the culture surrounding them. Because we feel like we have way too much free time in our lives  We've started another website called Crankshaft Culture. Essentially, if it's got a crankshaft, you could see it on the site. Whether it's off-road or on road, travel or racing, cars, trucks, motorcycles—you name it. If it's got a crankshaft, it's cool. 

In addition, we've recently picked up a 2001 Jeep Cherokee, and you can follow along on our build there. We're just getting started, but we hope you'll check it out.

Does this mean the end of Subcompact Culture? Not at all. We are simply opening up our blogging horizons to other vehicles of various sizes. In addition to the website, you can also find it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Become part of the Crankshaft Cult and check it out. 

Crankshaft Culture Cherokee

Thursday, August 4, 2016

So what's going on with the Teal Terror?

The Teal Terror's Engine Bay

Back in June, we told you that our 1995 Suzuki Sidekick, aka the Teal Terror, was having engine issues. Well, I tore into the engine a little and found the culprit. As suspected and as was suggested by many a Suzukiphile, the keyway on the end of the crankshaft has fouled.