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Where to start? #4489726
08/15/17 09:31 PM
08/15/17 09:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 33
Houston, TX
Bhoppy1216 Offline OP
Bhoppy1216  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 33
Houston, TX
When it comes to cars and such I know enough to change my oil, brakes, and other things, but I dont know enough. I want to know what the different engine models are, why a 2.5L engine is good and why it can be loved by multiple car models, and etc. I guess I wanna know what makes a car work rather than just knowing how to change stuff. I want to know why torque and HP matter, and how to tell if a car will get me ahead of others. I never used to be this way, but I got the car fever. Any clue on where to start?

Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4489751
08/15/17 10:01 PM
08/15/17 10:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 917
Winnipeg MB CA
Number_35 Online content
Number_35  Online Content
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 917
Winnipeg MB CA
What a great and honest post!

When I was a young guy I caught the car bug almost overnight when I was 16 and had just gotten my license. I had a book of short stories called '52 Miles to Terror', all car-themed. There was one reprinted from years before by Bill Mauldin, the famous war cartoonist but also a gifted writer. Anyway, there's this bit where this young GI who's a mechanical genius swaps a Packard V8 into the General's Jeep. Another officer, a stickler for detail, gets the GI to open the hood to ensure all is in order. The GI is really worried, but the stickler is mechanically ignorant, and declares that everything looks fine.

The deal was that he was too ignorant to tell the difference between an inline-4 and a V8. The thing was, I wouldn't have been able to tell either - and I wondered if I'd ever learn.

Anyway, I started changing oil when I was 18, and just went from there. I've since done head gaskets, engine swaps, timing belts, brakes, struts, and on and on. And of course I've made many many stupid mistakes along the way - and am always learning.

I've also delved into a fair bit of theory, and have a reasonable understanding of how things work. There are some great resources on the 'net now.

But I started at Ground Zero, with a dad who was appalled at my mechanical/automotive interests. If you've got desire to learn, you'll do it. Good luck!

Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4489755
08/15/17 10:06 PM
08/15/17 10:06 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,700
NY, NY
NYEngineer Offline
NYEngineer  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,700
NY, NY
When I was a kid and wanted to know all the stuff you're asking, I started reading car magazines. That's really all there was.
Now, there's the internet and all of those shows on Velocity and Discovery. In fact, I think this week is all car related shows on the History Channel. Probably a good place to start.
The shows on tv are really not technical enough for me at this stage of my life but may be perfect for someone just starting out..

Also, visit manufacturer's websites. I basically taught myself all about EFI by reading about stuff online. I've built two TBI cars and one multi point car and will be doing a pretty high end system on a big block Chrysler pretty soon.

I still recommend Car Craft, Hot Rod and Roadkill magazines. Hot Rod has a great section every month where they take some reader's car that's having serious issues and walk you through fixing it. Very informative.

Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4489757
08/15/17 10:07 PM
08/15/17 10:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 440
MN
TmanP Offline
TmanP  Offline
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 440
MN
I've been driving for 2 years now. Like you, I have the car fever. When I was 16, I knew a bit about cars (general principle of how they work, how to check fluids, etc.). I had read the owners manual of all of our cars cover to cover. But when I got my car I decided to learn all that I could about it and other cars. I started out by reading my owners manual, then graduated to the internet. If I had any question at all, I would google it (still do). For example, "how does traction control work" "87 vs 91 octane" "best 5w30" "best allseason tires". Don't be afraid to ask the internet questions. For example I'll end up on a Mercedes forum reading about adaptive cruise control, or a Geo Metro forum reading about their average MPG.

Youtube is also a great resource. There are videos on tons of automotive topics. In this one, a guy tears down an engine and explains its different parts and their functions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saPGX-1qC4M&t=464s

This one is an engine running with a clear cylinder head. You can see the whole cycle.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFH4dWqQQOYkyJZUGT4q5pg

If I look at the engine in my Buick, for example, I can learn a lot. It is referred to as the "3800". It is a 3.8 liter (if all the pistons were at the bottom of their stroke, you could pour in 3.8 liters of water) V6 (there are six cylinders, arranged in a v-patttern, in two banks of three. Being a 90 degree V6, the cylinder banks are offset at an angle of, well, 90 degrees. GM rated this engine at 200 horsepower at 5,200 RPM. That means that when I floor my engine and let it reach redline, it makes 200 HP. This is less important than torque: it's also rated at 230 ft-lbs at 4000 RPM (revolutions per minute= how many times the crankshaft revolves in a minute) Having adequate torque is what allows a car to merge onto a freeway or spin the tires. It's arguably a more important metric to measure a car's performance. Generally, the higher the torque, the more powerful the engine will feel. That's why trucks, often used to tow, will have much more torque. For example, a 5.3 Chevy has over 350 ft-lbs of torque.

But when talking about speed, the two most important things are 1/4 mile time (obvious, and it is listed at a given speed- the speed at which the car crosses the 1/4 mile line) and 0-60 time (how many seconds it takes). Those are how you would compare two cars and see which would win.

You mentioned the use of the same engines in different cars. A 3.5 liter V6 has been used by many automakers (Honda, Toyota, Ford, GM, to name a few) but they are all different. Toyota's 3.5 isn't related to Honda's. And Toyota may use it in the Sienna, Highlander, Avalon, etc, with a few small changes.


So I guess that I'll leave you with the advice that you should be open to learning new things and you'll find that you become knowledgable over time. On the left bar of this forum there is a recent topic list. click into them, read them, and try and learn something.


2012 Toyota Camry 2.5 30,000 mi
2015 Chevy Silverado LT Z71 5.3 V8 30,000 mi
2010 Toyota Sienna 3.5 V6 150,000 mi
Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4489791
08/15/17 11:10 PM
08/15/17 11:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 33
Houston, TX
Bhoppy1216 Offline OP
Bhoppy1216  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 33
Houston, TX
Awesome advice from all, I think I will look into a car magazine to read month to month. Tman thanks for the break down! I am happy to say I knew some of that stuff, but you kinda just laid open a lot of the questions I had, and those were some awesome videos thanks for sharing. I think most of my hesitation comes from the fact that I have a young family so I fear messing up my car. It is my lifeblood to get to work and I dont have money in the bank to pay a mechanic to fix my mess up after ordering parts lol. Still, I will learn and move forward.

Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4489805
08/15/17 11:36 PM
08/15/17 11:36 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 628
SF Bay Area, CA
ag_ghost Offline
ag_ghost  Offline
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 628
SF Bay Area, CA
Your local community college may have some low-cost introductory automobile courses; e.g., "Intro to Automotive Principles"; one night a week for a quarter.

My son and I took one together several years ago before he started graduate school. It didn't give him any fever but it increased mine, never mind his test scores were better ("Dad you're overthinking..."). In any event, enjoy.
Kevin


Kevin
63 Galaxie 500, 390; dad bought it new...
99 Accord V6
15 CR-V
04 Accord I4, MT(!)
Re: Where to start? [Re: ag_ghost] #4489849
08/16/17 02:14 AM
08/16/17 02:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 33
Houston, TX
Bhoppy1216 Offline OP
Bhoppy1216  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 33
Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: ag_ghost
Your local community college may have some low-cost introductory automobile courses; e.g., "Intro to Automotive Principles"; one night a week for a quarter.

My son and I took one together several years ago before he started graduate school. It didn't give him any fever but it increased mine, never mind his test scores were better ("Dad you're overthinking..."). In any event, enjoy.
Kevin


You might be on to something there, I do have a little bit left of a GI bill just collecting dust

Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4489933
08/16/17 07:49 AM
08/16/17 07:49 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 7,654
Toronto, Canada
KrisZ Offline
KrisZ  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 7,654
Toronto, Canada
Think about going to mechanical engineering school. You will make a good living and you will understand not only how a car works, but also what it takes to design and manufacture one.


2015 Dodge Grand Caravan-27k miles.
2006 Mazda 3-163k miles
Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4489984
08/16/17 08:55 AM
08/16/17 08:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 241
Michigan
slug_bug Offline
slug_bug  Offline
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 241
Michigan


2016 Miata 2.0l (12k)
2013 Fusion 2.5l(78k)
2013 Focus(56K)
2010 Linc MKX 3.5l(88k)
2007 Dodge Caravan 3.8l(179k)
2003 Merc. Mountaineer 4.6l(114k)
Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4489993
08/16/17 09:16 AM
08/16/17 09:16 AM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 4,398
Storrs, Connecticut
jeepman3071 Offline
jeepman3071  Offline
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 4,398
Storrs, Connecticut
Youtube. Many how-to videos and how things work videos on automotive topics. I'm a visual learner and videos really help to see how things all go together.

EngineeringExplained would be a good youtube channel to check out.


2000 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L (180k) - Pennzoil 10w30, Napa Gold 1516, Magnefine trans filter
2009 BMW 328i (33k) - Castrol Edge Euro 0w40, MANN HU816X
Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4490088
08/16/17 11:31 AM
08/16/17 11:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,132
Austin, Texas
Brons2 Offline
Brons2  Offline
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,132
Austin, Texas
At my high school we had a large vocational auto shop and when you take Auto I, you literally rebuilt an engine. This was in the mid-late 80s. Even though I was on a college track, I took this class and I loved it. The class broke into 4 or 5 teams and we were all given real used engines to disassemble including removal of all sub-assemblies until everything was in pieces. We had a hot tank, a cold tank and a bead blaster. The blocks and heads were put into the hot tank. The heads were then removed and put into the bead blaster, they'd come out real shiny (for cast iron at least). We then would send the blocks and heads out for machining and then we'd get to cleaning all the bolts that came out of the engine on a wire wheel.

The parts would eventually be returned with the block having been bored .030 over (usually), mains line honed, block deck machined, crank ground .010 under and heads with a 3 angle valve job. New parts would include bearings, rings, pistons, cam, valves, springs, seals, retainers and gaskets. The engines would then be assembled from the ground up by the students, including installing the rings, bearings, pistons, valves and camshaft. We would of course check all the mains and rod bearings for clearance with Plasti-gauge. The only thing the students didn't install was the cam bearings, guess the instructor figured it was a bit too delicate of a job for the students. The machine shop installed them.

After the engine was completely built up it was filled with oil and primed by driving the pump through the distributor. We would then verify the adjustment of the valve lifters and then that was normally the end of it for most Auto I students.

I took the more advanced section(s) of the auto shop classes also and built a couple of pretty hot engines (for the time...) and installed them in vehicles and did the initial runs and cam break-ins. Built a couple of stroker SBC 350s, one with a pretty radical cam and dual-quads, a big block Ford 460, some small block Fords and a Graymarine inline 6 from the 50s.


2012 Hyundai Sonata GLS 6MT 2.4GDI, ProDS 10w30, XG9688 filter, 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.4 CVT, Factory fill still.
Re: Where to start? [Re: Brons2] #4490133
08/16/17 12:21 PM
08/16/17 12:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,671
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Kira Online content
Kira  Online Content
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,671
Champlain/Hudson Valley
There are "plateaus of intelligence" you will achieve as you progress.

A few examples:
Stick with real knowledge and functionality. Get a car running and keep it running. NOBODY needs to go through the, "Oh man, why did I buy that $250 cold air intake system" right of passage. High School boy caliber "toys" (not sexual "boy toys" cougars play with) are never needed.

Wrestling with (learning curve stuff) basics like replacing neglected fuel filters and cleaning brake glide pins on a wire wheel will make you a better person, make you look like a better person and ease the rest of learning as reassembly is easier when parts are clean.

TOTALLY SKIP the stoned (as in STUPID and dreamer) practice of spraying a rusted fastener with something then immediately picking up a wrench. Use the juice several times and several days before a planned job and also clean the area with a wire brush or drill wheel.

Get 6 point sockets as they're less prone to rounding fasteners. I frequently grab my impact sockets for nasty jobs even if I'm not using an impact tool as they're 6 point.

Want a tip I learned? After a fluid change get a paint marker and clearly print "17mm-6.1 qts." on the header panel.
The 17mm is the wrench size for the drain plug and the 6.1 qts. is the volume. OBVIOUSLY those numbers are for my car.
It helps you the next time and people love to see that when I sell the car down the road.
I use yellow for oil and red for trannie fluid.

Remember to slice old vacuum hose lengthwise to facilitate removal. Simply grabbing and twisting will often break a plastic nipple off.

A tip from an old car magazine for older, neglected cars you want to keep on the road? DON'T PATCH. For example: If a rear drum brake cylinder goes bad in an early Jeep Liberty (first 2 years had drum rears) change BOTH.

Considering an old car with a known rusted-ruptured brake line? Plan to change 'em all.

Avoid even thinking about changing 1 front strut etc. and avoid talking to people who do.

Having 4 STRAIGHT and balanced wheels is "Job #1" to motoring joy. Also remember, tires don't wear evenly and sometimes even lose their internal structuring with age. You can be thrifty but don't try to make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

Though, genuine "sow's ear" upholstery would likely fetch a premium....just don't leave the dog in the car unattended.

Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4490134
08/16/17 12:23 PM
08/16/17 12:23 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,947
Ohio
L_Sludger Offline
L_Sludger  Offline
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,947
Ohio
Originally Posted By: Bhoppy1216
When it comes to cars and such I know enough to change my oil, brakes, and other things, but I dont know enough. I want to know what the different engine models are, why a 2.5L engine is good and why it can be loved by multiple car models, and etc. I guess I wanna know what makes a car work rather than just knowing how to change stuff. I want to know why torque and HP matter, and how to tell if a car will get me ahead of others. I never used to be this way, but I got the car fever. Any clue on where to start?
Wikipedia is pretty much invaluable. I wish I had it around when I was getting into this stuff. Back when I got into it all we had were usenet BBSs, library books, and factory service manuals.


too many cars and oil combinations to list in 150 characters or less
Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4490466
08/16/17 07:11 PM
08/16/17 07:11 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,811
CA
spackard Offline
spackard  Offline
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,811
CA
I think The Motor Vehicle gives one a good textbook background, and it's pretty cheap used.
https://www.amazon.com/Motor-Vehicle-K-Newton/dp/1560918985

It's a big book, at 1010 pages.

Re: Where to start? [Re: Bhoppy1216] #4490668
08/17/17 12:41 AM
08/17/17 12:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 5,270
Colorado Springs
edyvw Offline
edyvw  Offline
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 5,270
Colorado Springs
Originally Posted By: Bhoppy1216
Awesome advice from all, I think I will look into a car magazine to read month to month. Tman thanks for the break down! I am happy to say I knew some of that stuff, but you kinda just laid open a lot of the questions I had, and those were some awesome videos thanks for sharing. I think most of my hesitation comes from the fact that I have a young family so I fear messing up my car. It is my lifeblood to get to work and I dont have money in the bank to pay a mechanic to fix my mess up after ordering parts lol. Still, I will learn and move forward.

It would be much better world if people would actually show some interest in what they drive, like you do.
Good question on hp and torque. People buy HP, but they actually love torque. They think everything starts and ends with hp.
I like one explanation: hp is how fast you will hit the wall. Torque is how far you will push the wall.
Torque is the most important thing in American darlings, SUV's. You can have 400hp under the hood, but if torque is weak, and curve is not optimal for weight, it will still struggle with weight.
For example, my BMW has 265hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. Toyota Highlander has 295hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. I can guarantee you that over the Rocky Mountains I will leave far behind Highlander fully loaded compare to empty Highlander. My BMW is diesel, and diesels due to nature of engine have huge torque (that is why they use diesels in Semi's, etc.). Basically, if you have heavy vehicle, family hauler, torque is the most important of two.
As for messing the car, just take it slow and easy. Double check everything. I have year old son, and I do all stuff that do not require special tool on both of my cars. But look at that like this. Your know-how will transfer to your kids!

Last edited by edyvw; 08/17/17 12:42 AM.

15' Toyota Sienna AWD (Mobil1 0W20 EP+ FRAM Ultra).
11' VW Tiguan 2.0T (Castrol 0W40+MANN filter)
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