EcoBoost Blues

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Back in the late ’70s, engineers over at Chrysler came up with a way to help their existing engines – which had been designed back in the 1950s and ’60s – stay compliant with emissions control requirements  passed years later. It was called Lean Burn. Some of you may remember. By increasing the air in the air-fuel ratio  – “leaning out” the engine – and electronically controlling ignition timing, hydrocarbon (HC) emissions can be significantly reduced.trabby 1

It wasn’t a bad idea. In fact, it was a good idea (see here for technical details) and the essential components – electronically controlled ignition – are standard equipment in all new cars today.

The problem was the technology Chrysler used at the time wasn’t quite ready for prime time. Glitches plagued the early Lean Burn engines. The electronic controls were sometimes balky – and mechanics of the era often couldn’t diagnose/correctly repair the system when it acted up.

Fast-forward 30 years.lean burn 1

Ford – like many current car companies – sees turbochargers as a way to comply with escalating federal fuel-economy mandates while also maintaining the power/performance levels customers expect. Ford calls its line of small-displacement/high output – and high efficiency – turbocharged engines EcoBoost engines.  They range from a 1.0 liter three-cylinder in the 2014 Fiesta subcompact to the 3.5 liter V-6 (with two turbos) used in the Taurus SHO and the full-size F-series pick-up truck. In the latter applications, the turbo V-6 delivers the power/performance of a V-8 with the economy of a six. In the Fiesta, the tiny 1.0 liter engine provides the on-demand output of a larger four – but much better gas mileage when you’re just poking along because only three cylinders are consuming gas as opposed to four of them.

Again, it’s not a bad idea.ecoboost1

But – once again – there may be some teething problems.

The Detroit News is reporting that some owners of EcoBoosted Ford vehicles are complaining – suing, actually. They are claiming that their vehicles lose power – and shudder – during acceleration. One lawsuit (a class action lawsuit) in Louisiana – see here – another in Ohio. Reportedly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received about 100 complaints about EcoBoosted Fords – most of which seem to be directed at either the Taurus SHO or the F-150.

The lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Louisiana case state that “Many Ford F150 EcoBoost owners have reported that their trucks have stalled, shuddered, failed to accelerate and/or entered into limp mode while driving.”A writer for Green Car News described a similar issue with the ’14 Fiesta (see here).

Reportedly, Ford has issued Technical Service Bulletins – these are memos to mechanics – about a component of the EcoBoost system called the Charge Air Cooler – which suggests that there is a problem and that Ford is aware of it.ecboost 2

Whether it is an isolated/small problem – or a big problem – remains to be seen. If it turns out to be a big problem, Ford is going to have a big problem. Because the automaker has committed big-time to the EcoBoost concept. It’s not just one model of car that’s potentially affected – as in the case of fire-prone Pintos back in the day. This situation involves engines used in several models of Ford vehicles – and a concept that Ford intends to apply virtually across the board, to every car (and truck) it makes.

If Ford – like Chrysler in the ’70s – put EcoBoost into mass production before it was fully sorted out, the fallout could be catastrophic.

And, tragic.

Because Ford today – like Chrysler then – was pressured to get the new technology into showrooms as rapidly as possible. Not because consumers demanded it.

But because government mandates more or less required it.

In the ’70s, Chrysler was faced with the Hobson’s Choice of prematurely “retiring” – that is, throwing away – engines (specifically, big V-8s) that  could not keep up with emissions control edicts passed years after they had been developed and which they weren’t designed to comply with – or fitting them with not-quite-ready-for-prime-time electronic controls in order to get them past the government’s gantlet.obama gas

Same thing today with Ford.

It’s not market demand that’s the impetus behind EcoBoost. It is the urgent need to dramatically (and quickly) improve the fuel economy of cars – and trucks – in order to meet government mandates while also satisfying customers’ desire for a certain level of power/performance. Ford – and everyone else in the business – knows that while politicians who ride around in taxpayer-subsidized 6,000 lb. armored limos with V-8 engines that get 6 MPG love to croon about 54.5 MPG cars (the “target” for 2025) the truth is that most buyers don’t want a 54.5 MPG car … if that car needs 30 seconds to get to 60.

They expect performance and economy.

Thus, Ford – and everyone else making cars – must try to reconcile conflicting requirements, one natural (customer preferences) the other artificial (government edicts) and they must do it right now.soviet car

In a free market – one where a car company is free to build cars its customers want as opposed to the kinds of cars government demands – Ford would have had more time to sort out Ecoboost. And to bring it out – at first – on a limited basis, to gauge customer response as well as to limit any potential problems arising from unforeseen technical glitches.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a free market. We have a top-down, increasingly Soviet-style market. One in which “experts” – politicians and bureaucrats – dictate to engineers “on behalf” of customers, who are deemed to be too stupid to know what kinds of cars they ought to be driving and so must be told which cars they’ll be driving.

It’s probably only a matter of time before the U.S. car industry ends up producing cars like the Soviet car industry produced.

Your 2025 Trabant or Lada or maybe, if you’re really lucky, Zil –  awaits. . . .

Throw it in the Woods? 


  1. sunthas
    It’s a government solution to a government influenced problem.
    Who knows what the automobile market and gasoline market would look like if it weren’t for the significant involvement of the state in both.
    As an environmentalist I like the increase in standards as I think one issue libertarianism doesn’t solve well is the tragedy of the commons and therefore it might be a proper role for a state to play.

    [response to sunthas]
    unrustlablelibertarian party
    There you have it, standards, not codes. Standards are set forth by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Approval from these bodies can make or break a car’s sales.
    Codes, however, are dictated by the government. The government does not have a vested interest in scientific numbers advocating less intervention, and thus their research must be taken with a grain of salt.
    As the market showed us in 2008, we buy more fuel efficient cars when gas is expensive. If the government keeps trying to put pressure in various places to keep the price down (as a Bush gaffe highlighted), then the price would go up, Fiestas would sell better, and Escalades would be retired. The market alone has the power to change things for the better.

    4 points (83% like it) 5 up votes 1 down vote

    Posted 17 hour ago to reddit / libertarian

  2. The ecoboost engines condense water out of high humidity air(Think Louisiana /gulf coast) in the intercooler while driving slow. When you it the gas it sucks the water into the turbos causing performance issues and possibly damage to turbos.Way to go Ford!

  3. I liked the first photo for the article. It shoulda been a donkey in front though. Donkey’s are cool. And, I’ve been noticing station wagons more as I drive about, I’m almost half attracted to them.
    Suba-roo? Ha.

    • I gnow, rite? I toldily love this retarded running hoarse. I haven’t dun any work in like six months now. I kin jest watch this viddyo cause everyone ellses bin layed off and I bees the only won left.

      Be sure to put in a full shift. Don’t slack off.
      Watch it all the way to the end and then it’s time to clock out.

      Donkey Explains Obamacare

      Funny Goats

  4. Payback! Years ago, when Honda/Toyota were kicking Detroit’s behind on cleaning up emissions by good engineering, Detroit went to Washington and got laws passed saying the catalytic converter HAD to be the way to do it. Honda had much better and cheaper ways of doing it, but detroit got guvmint to help. The first steps in more expensive, guvmint mandated emission control. Now they’re crying because the tail is wagging the dog.

  5. This is sad. Ford is the only American car company left I can cheer for given the whole auto bailout fiasco.

    I’ve been eyeing replacements for my wifes get around car with the kids(which is currently a 300,000 mile volvo 740) and thinking about a used Ford Flex, which was basically the Volvo next gen frame that Ford took over for the Flex/Taurus(500) series. (Ford did change it from aluminum to steel for cost though)

    Anyway, I’ve always been dubious of Ford’s move to turbo’s. I’ve had plenty of turbo cars when younger, and while they can be fun for hard driving….none of them lasted the magic 200k with either outright total engine failure or a turbo related costly repair.

    Fun? Hell yes. I loved riving my Dad’s 86′ Impulse Turbo, his 93′ RX7 Twin turbo(which was a sub 5 sec rocket ship)….but both suffered serious engine/turbo problem at around 50k in. Even my diesel Jetta didn’t make it to 200k without a turbo failure…and even then the reman unit I put it only lasted another 20k(because blow by from worn oil control rings kept fouling the impeller exhaust side bearings).

    So, back to my needs for the wife/kids get around vehicle:

    You can get the great new modular v6 Ford without having to have the turbo for just a couple of years but still with the gas direct injection.

    That’s the “sweet spot” IMHO.

    Turbo’s always increase complexity and reduce engine life….IMHO SAAB did it best with their version of the low pressure turbo…but they were doing it for a long time before anyone else and you still don’t see a lot of 300K SAABS running around.

    For day to day reliable use, N.A. is the way to go still.

    • Nick, I fear Ford is victim of marketing geniuses, engineers who have pushed paper in regards to cost, benefit, marketing, etc. for too long. Ford hasn’t had a good engine(gasoline)for pickups maybe never. 351’s were pure junk, 352’s, each one with bad issues, 400’s, what can I say, hot water 400’s we used to call them, no power and an non-rebuildable carb. Then along came their new modular engines, none good for 100,000 miles with plenty problems. Now Ford has the New Modular engine, an engine I watched getting torn down by Ford engineers. Their words, Don’t try this at home. It has so many parts(1200+) it took a huge table to lay them out on, complexity being just shy of a NASA design. No, there won’t be many people who try to fix them and that’s a problem since everybody knows manufacturer dealerships are huge rip-offs no matter what the brand. That keeps the work in the dealerships and there is another problem, line mechanics with no real vested interest in getting it right and as all car companies do, they won’t just keep running that vehicle in the shop time after time. They’ll finally say you’ve abused it or somehow voided its warranty and that’s a customer who won’t be coming back. Ford is still trying to get their pickup customer base back because of their diesel debacle. This new EcoBoost system will be too expensive to repair for all the vehicles out there and the myriad applications. The customer will be off Fords maybe forever and word of mouth will keep other customers at arms length or beyond. Even though Mopar and GM engines and transmissions weren’t always cutting edge technology(and neither were Ford’s), they were mostly reliable and made good power for the most part. I drove too many work trucks that the automatic would strain against the 70+ HP loss of the C-6 for what seemed like forever before finally shifting. The trannies didn’t last long either nor did their replacements. There was a time when a manufacturer could produce a line of engines that crossed from car to truck and various size cars. This is no longer possible since the govt. is designing the cars and the manufacturer simply is the entity trying to provide reliability and function within those realms. Say what you want about inline 6’s but they have their place but not in today’s world of mandates for fuel consumption, EPA emissions and so forth. Every day my old ’82 Chevy with the complete bed being galvanized so I don’t suppose it will ever go away along with the bullet proof TH 400 and the 454 look better all the time. At least I’ll know not to sweat the 12mpg it will get, carbed or FI. Too bad Dodge’s Cummins engine is so heavy. They don’t work well in muddy conditions in a 4WD because of too much front end weight. It’s a shame too. Just stick an old one in any pickup and go on. What was so bad about the LUV pickup with a diesel that would get 40+mpg and last forever? Just fill it and floor it, time after time. I remember the fear and loathing I had looking at the engine bay of the Mazda 6. I’m sure there’s an engine in there somewhere.

      • Thanks for the note back, I didn’t realize there were issues with the new Ford modular V6’s in N.A. format as well.

        I’ve got a 93′ Vandura 2500(Starcraft conversion) for the family weekends & camping with the ubiquitous SBC 350/5.7 that’s great for its intended purpose.

        I also own a close to base level Chevy HHR(total shitbox, but OK for daily work), that I bought BEFORE the bailout nonsense(I thought GM was more financially stable than Ford at the time…lol…what a blunder).

        Anyway, the whole GM bailout stuff really has left a bad taste in my mouth…I call my GM vehicles “rolling TARP packages”…lol

        Although in fairness it should be anything made after 07′(that’s the year of my HHR).

        I think GM should have went through the bankruptcy process instead of running to the gov’t…so it’s no more GM for me.

        • Nick, I admit I am biased but only because I make a living with a pickup and do my own mechanic work. I do body work occasionally too and have helped a friend in the body business rebuild various types of vehicles. GM, you mock it up, get it straight and tighten things down. Ford, you mock it up, with use of countless line up punches to get all the holes lined up, then work on it till it’s lined up, not an easy task. Dodge, you look at the back glass that needs to be replaced and finally think, Shit, how the hell is this thing held in?. Good old windshield sealant is the answer, not a very good move on Dodge’s part. It’s that way with body parts too. Then there’s the expense of parts and Ford verily has held title to most expensive for decades. I can’t afford to play politics with this one. I’ll stay with old stuff from GM and try not to think about parts being totally unavailable and that doesn’t generally last long for their parts. Who ever had their contract will eventually market their parts for aftermarket. Nissan and Toyota fill a different customer base from the big 3 so I won’t be even looking at them. If they don’t have the frames for my needs by now it’s because they sell plenty without addressing problems of overloaded(is there any other kind?)gooseneck trailers or just completely loaded trailers. Toyota finally admitted their frames weren’t up to the task years ago and haven’t done anything to rectify it. I don’t know a soul who bought a Toy for hard work that the pickup they once bought for it is just a memory, replaced by one of the big 3. My ‘84.5 model Nissan pickup was a good little pickup although the body metal was too thin. It would have been a great little pickup without the 8 spark plugs for a 2.4L four, a computer controlled carburetor that always went agly as well as a completely inadequate cooling system. I wasn’t too crazy about the head gasket blowing and taking two cylinders with it. If I could have figured a way to properly cool the truck, it would have had a SBC engine and a TH 375 transmission after the 4 blew up. It cost me 50% more to rebuild that engine than just buying a complete Chevy crate engine with a guarantee. It was just too tight a fit.

  6. I was looking hard at the Taurus SHO. Nice looking car, good performance for its size. I am glad that I settled for the Infiniti G37x instead. I think Ford still has some quality issues that they need to sort out. I have an F150 that I am somewhat disappointed with, but at least the engine runs well.

    • Hi Beer,

      I think it’s not quality control, per se.

      It’s complexity.

      EcoBoost involves myriad sub-systems, all of which must be working together and optimally for the overall system to work as designed.

      When new – and in the lab – no worries.

      But as the miles go by and these myriad systems begin to function less than optimally… ?

      No thanks.

      We have reached the point of diminishing returns. Cars have already become far too elaborate for their fundamental purpose.

      • More often than not it’s complexity that causes the gremlins, but my mother had a boxy old Ford Cortina MK1 for a couple of years in the 70’s that would drive 10 miles almost exactly then simply die. Just had to wait a few minutes and go another 10 miles..

        The old man replaced the engine and the wiring, but the problem was never solved. Thinking back now it could have been as simple as an overheating ignition coil.

        We took it to a range of mechanics but only one said it’s the second Cortina in the country he’s heard it happen to, but still a head-scratcher. For such a simple engine, it wasn’t at all happy.

    • I’ve worked in automotive product labs on and off over the last 30 years (more off lately). And the US manufacturers retired everyone over 50 in their big “save the company” buy-outs over the last 10 years.

      The net result is that the current automotive product engineers know far less about their components than the folks who used to make their test equipment (which they are not buying any more of due to budget constraints). The giant CAFE push will not end well as the corporate knowledge bases are now spending their time fishing while the green product engineers are struggling.

      You can expect a lot more of “things that make you go huh???” from the US automakers. Like the little known Chrysler fault of fuel pressure going to zero in 90+ weather when running on less that 1/4 tank of fuel (wrong fuel pump and wasn’t tested, the “fix” is to keep tank more than 1/4 full). Someone forgot that the fuel pump is also a 120 watt in-tank-heater…… Oooops.

      • The war on talent in engineering has been on-going for 20 years or so now. Engineers are treated like fungible human resources where a freshout is the same as an experienced engineer, but cheaper. There are various CEOs from the 1990s that are responsible for this mess. But that’s what happens when those who rise to top of the corporations have no real clue what it takes to develop a product because they come from finance.

        To finance people it’s just a salary cost. Nothing more. They figure they can get the same for cheaper.

        If I knew what I know now when I was 17 I would have not gone into this field. It’s way too much work for way too little reward and no respect.

        • Amen! Engineers are at the bottom of the barrel. The only thing the bean counters care is what you are billing this quarter. We will pay dearly for creating an economy where peddlers, lawyers and politicians are kings. I am engineer that has gone into sales, because I got fed up of earning the same as graduating engineers, and getting no respect.

          • You guys should go into software. It’s truly not hard to learn; if you’re already an engineer, you’ve got the thought processes and you’ve probably done at least some Matlab, Fortran, or Delphi.

            My MechE brother-in-law is in software too; pure engineering has been ruined by dumb-ass MBA’s. I suspect the graduation ceremony for an MBA consists of two sharp sticks and a quick lobotomy.

            But software’s different still; if you’ve got the skills there’s plenty of work and you’re treated pretty well.

            Stay contract; forget full-time.

          • Hi Meth. “I suspect the graduation ceremony for an MBA consists of two sharp sticks and a quick lobotomy.” Interesting, but not quite it. In actuality, they have an operation to install a window in their navel so they can see where they’re going with their head up their ass. 😉

          • I can code. I’ve been programming since I was 11 years old. Give me a good library of completed programs and I can pick up pretty much any programming language. Manuals don’t work well for me, I need a pile of examples.

            But here’s the problem. I have to convince someone I can code. I have to get them to allow for my weird self-teaching ways. And then I have to start at the bottom of the pay scale or even below it.

            Just too much of an uphill battle to fight to get back to where I am now.

          • I did assembler coding as a hobby over the last 20 years. I was looking into it as a job after the Army in ’95, but I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good hobby. Still, I might get back into it again if there’s an opening.

            Lots of software these days is written so bad it’s almost unusable, and that’s in spaghetti code too.

          • @revolution:

            Assembly, huh? Hard-core man. Last time I touched machine code was early 80’s when I was first learning…8- and 16-bit CPU’s with simple instruction sets.

            Everything now is so far removed from the metal it’s hard to remember sometimes there’s a von Neumann machine under the covers there somewhere.

            Even if you DO do assembly–the modern CPU’s do so much magic under the covers, even machine language is still an abstraction!

            It’s really miraculous…and a testimony to how rapidly humans can advance when they’re not restricted by government thuggery and theft.

            I love some of the modern languages; C# in particular has come a long, long way. It’s no longer Java-Plus; it’s serious business with tremendous expressiveness. The tools are phenomenal, too; instant decompilers that let you debug into binaries you don’t have source for, tracers, profilers, coverage, unit testing, build tools etc.

            It’s a fun field. I rarely dread going to work.

          • C#?
            PUSS-EE!!! 😉

            I WISH I had that sort of attitude… Loadrunner is based on Ansi-C. NO object concept, and poorly-implemented STRUCT. (IE, it’s USELESS unless you’re just writing code. Even then, it’s only a Struct.)

            Assembly was years ago… It was fun… Palindrome Checker was the big problem most people had, I just got it to work halfway and then declared the problem solved… (IE, it checked half the length of the string, and if the string had been correct 50% – it was a palindrome, and I could spit out the message and end the program. Fastest one there.)

            I tried to help someone out later on… she was coding Assembly for a Mini, not a Micro. I couldn’t handle the extra registries…

            And since I work in QA… I’d hijack Eric’s entire BOARD there, so I’ll just say, you’ve been overly-generous in saying the software is “almost” unusable, and merely spaghetti.
            I think most developers couldn’t find the @$$ with both hands and a set of directions, and someone to help. And i’ve got the stories to back that assertion up (which, being ubiquitous across so many companies and so many states, mean I’m hardly alone.)
            Some of these developers are now using TOOLS, too. Like a chimp shoving a stick in a termite mound, except the chimp is smarter. The tool does all the “coding” for them, and then – since I look under the covers – I have to figure out all their spaghetti, which sometimes is about as clear as chocolate pudding, and sometimes ever performs the task it’s supposed to… I believe by accident more than intent.
            And we won’t even get into how BAD “Agile” is for actual quality. Try performance testing an application that’s still under development, when the tool sees the details back and forth – and those details are subject to change without notice. My favorite response to, “what’s new?” is, “Nothing’s changed.”
            It’s a Subaru WRX, nothing changed – that 2000 model is the same as the 2012 model, RIGHT…? 😛
            At that point, I just smile, and say to myself, “You’re the f*cking imbecile that decided to go into this field…. Moron.” :-X
            We all know, if it LOOKS the same, it must BE the same, right? 1313 Mockingbird Lane is the same as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, right? Same color, must be the same place!
            OK, I’ve got a meeting, and I’m likely to have an aneurism there anyway, so… I’ll shut up… 😉

        • And you have to endure long stupid meetings with these corrupt “perr-sep-shun is reality” MBA morons. I’d rather farm.

    • Actually, it’s the output flow from the in-tank pump module with it’s built-in pressure regulator that is falling to zero. The pump is maintaining pressure, just not delivering fuel to the engine…

      As the temperature in-tank continues to rise the pressure will continue to fall. They don’t cavitate like they used to (vapor lock when I was a kid).

      Turn it off and wait a while and it will cool to within operational limits again. Many of the complaints have been dismissed as imaginary since vehicle always works after being towed to dealer….

  7. I do not own an eco-boost engine or a car that has one. I am however old enough to remember that cars used to accelerate when you stepped on the accelerator.
    Now that computers have taken over accelerators we have the stumbling bumbling “gee…I wonder if the guy who is trying to merge with 70 mph traffic wants me to go faster now” car computer technology that in essence gets people killed. I own a 2008 Prius and can tell you that there are times when I step to the floor the car sometimes slightly hesitates. Slight hesitations are not what I am after, ACCELERATION is what I am after. I know that my automobile is not a DB5 but that does not mean it should hesitate when I NEED to go faster.
    Computers are fun….but they can be deadly when they are make decisions on the road that humans should be making, period.

    • Hi Dave,

      Yeah – I’m not a fan of drive-by-wire throttle control, either.

      A cable – a physical connection between the driver’s foot and the throttle – is preferable. Because it’s simpler and less prone to “ghost in the machine” electronics issues.

      The reason the car companies have switched to drive-by-wire has to do with packaging as well as their desire to achieve uniformity/standardization – each car feeling/responding exactly as others of its type.

  8. A) The Ecoboost is yet another great reason why not to buy new technology until it’s been sorted out.

    B) Cars are just too damn complex now. I have enough trouble with household computers; the last thing I need is flashing car computers and all the rest of that crap just to drive somewhere.

    C) Related to (B)–after the warranty expires in a mere five years, how in heaven’s name are we going to afford fixing these space shuttle-like techno wonders? Give me a well-tuned 440 Dodge pickup with a six-speed manual, a 3/4 ton Dodge van with the 360, and a Geo Metro, all from before 1994.

    • Hi Ross,

      That sums up my attitude exactly.

      It’s a car. Not a space shuttle. I sometimes feel like the proverbial stranger in a strange land when I get a new car to test drive. I look at the turbos/direct-injection/auto-stop/dual-clutch sequential automated transmissions/LCD displays/eight air bags – and the inevitable $40,000-up MSRP – and wonder: Who buys these things?

      Then I realize why so many people are living paycheck to paycheck – and in debt up to their eyeballs.

      5-6 years of $400-plus payments every month… for a freaking car.

      Instead of $75 twice a year for a simple tune-up (as in the Bad Old Days) it’s now $800 for an ABS pump, $400 for a catalytic converter, $200 for a headlight “assembly”….


      This is entirely anecdotal, but –

      The people I know who aren’t broke, who don’t have to work like coolies, buy and own older cars. They never buy new – and they avoid all the crap we’ve been ranting about.

      • You are absolutely on target here Eric. My Wife and I are not rich but we don’t drive new cars and we don’t have to have the latest and greatest anything.

        We have friends who make more money than we do and wonder how we can afford to pay for all of the things that come up with cash, all while they are driving the 40k luxury car or new pickup.

        People seem to have forgotten the rule of delayed satisfaction and how to save now so you can have fun and what you want later.

        • In my life so far, I have only bought one new vehicle – a sport bike. I indulged myself that once, at a time when I was making really good money and could afford to just buy outright. But then, “buying outright” only meant about $9,000 or so!

        • Amen Tom.

          My wife and I decided long before we were married we’d carry on like we had when we were poor students–no debt, no new cars. Well, except for the mortage…sorry about that one we are.

          But it’s the most freeing feeling in the world; what you can’t pay cash for, you don’t buy.

          The borrower is slave to the lender; and the psychological impact of owing, owing, owing is devastating.

      • “The people I know who aren’t broke, who don’t have to work like coolies, buy and own older cars. ”

        Ah, you been reading my mail. I have never in my life bought a new car. I buy cars that I like, and I pay cash for them out of my right pocket, if you know what I mean.

        Right now I’m driving a PT Cruiser, but for years it was one Cadillac Deville after another. Usually I put 100k+ on a used car before retiring it.

        I’m not rich, but I’m not broke. I work when I get a call, and I don’t beat the bushes between calls. Beats being owned by a new car.

        • One of the advanages of buying a ten year old car with 100k miles is knowing their track record. Knowing which cars tend to last, and which ones do not. Then buying well maintained specimines of the good ones.

          The older cars I buy give me great performance at reasonable cost. Granted, they may burn more gas. I can drive many, many miles in trouble free comfort in the larger cars for less than I would have to spend while driving a troublesome econo-box

          • Me too, John!

            One of my vehicles, the ’98 Nissan pick-up, is coming up on its “ten year anniversary” (with us). I bought it for about $7,000 back in ’04 and so far, the only problem I’ve had with it is the instrument cluster, which was repaired for $200.

            Given that this truck is still worth around $3,500 (pick-ups really hold their value, especially 4WDs) I estimate my net cost to own this truck to date at about $35 a month.

            It may be older, it may have some dings – but it’s never let me down so far.

            And it’s been paid for since the day I bought it!

  9. Thanks for the article, Eric. I am reminded of your review of the 2013 RDX. That has always been my dream car, but the turbo-charged 4 always scared me away. I figured maybe my maintenance concerns were just my imagination. I suppose this is just apples and oranges, but I am much more inclined to buy the RDX, now that Acura has gone to the 3.5 6. Also, for the commenters, here, your article on the new up and coming 9 and 10 speed transmissions is a must read.

    • Hi Paul,


      And – yeah, me too.

      I have no issue with turbos, per se. I think they’re fine… in certain applications. Specifically, “fun car” applications. But not everyday car applications. That’s my own practical/utilitarian philosophy. Others may differ – and neither is “right” or “wrong,” It’s a question of pros – and cons. And likes – and dislikes.

      For example, I bought the four-cylinder versions of both my trucks. The V-6 versions are much stronger and quicker. But I value the simplicity of the four – and the easier access – over the stronger/quicker, because I don’t need either for the uses I put my trucks to.

      On the other hand, I have a preposterously over-engined Trans-Am in the garage, as well as an over-powered sport bike and a totally obnoxious two-stroke bike. But these are for fun – and since I don’t use them often, they are (relatively) cheap to keep/feed and maintain.

      Just my 50…

  10. I know a couple of ecoboost F-150 owners that have problems when driving in the rain,
    after a few miles at a steady speed, then when they floor it to pass or go up a hill, it starts skipping.

    • Hi Justin,

      Yeah.. apparently, this problem is real – and fairly widespread. I’ve done some rooting around and found numerous complaints on Ford/truck forums, as well as YouTube.

      Did you listen to that recording of the conversation between a frustrated F-truck owner and Ford “customer care”? Sheesh!

  11. Ah! The Lada. No wonder I kept thinking it looked like a FIAT. Still, they’re the classic Eastern European cop car from days of yore.

    • Ladas looked like a FIAT because they WERE a FIAT. FIAT granted the licese to produce them to the USSR. The USSR improved them to run on low-octane gas, and toughened the suspensions to cope with the crappy Soviet roads.

    • Yeah – Ecoboost is going corporate-wide. It will be used in most, if not all, future Ford products.

      Unless, of course, Ford goes under as a result of Ecoboost being an Ecobust.

  12. Turbos and superchargers have been used since WW2. There’s a reason they’ve been given a miss. Maybe I’m gonna sound stupid but it’s probably due to the cost factor. It works well for diesels but for the family car..?

    Somebody PLEASE shoot me down in flames here.. 😉

    • Cost is a major part of it, but I think they don’t catch on because of marketing and lag. Marketing because Americans are sold engines by how much displacement they have, and lag (as in turbo lag), because it requires a different way of thinking about acceleration. You can’t just “punch it” with a turbo and get moving. If you really want to take advantage of the boost, you have to pre-rev your engine to the point where the turbo takes effect (in my car’s case, at about 2500 RPM). Manufacturers have figured out tricks to make them work over a wider powerband, but the lag will continue at idle just because there’s not as much gas coming out of the cylinder. This makes the turbo boosted car appear to be a clunker. BTW, turbo lag seems to be less noticeable with a manual transmission, something else that most of the US has shunned.

      • Aah, marketing, marketing, marketing. Remember the Olds diesels of the mid-70s? Converted from a solid 350 V8 gasoline engine. Then GM got cheap and started using lightweight Chevy 350s instead, and they didn’t hold up. Turned much of Amurrica against diesels for a long time.

          • Ed, those pickups and cars with that engine sold like hotcakes in this part of the country. Everybody wanted something to burn free diesel, rig diesel. If GM had only used a forged crank instead of the cast model they might have had a winner. Who knows since the crank never lasted long enough to find out. I’ve seen several boat anchors made from one half of those cranks…and they work well too.

          • I know it, eight. Probably the only boat I’d be able to get could use the harmonic balance as an anchor.

            Hey, what’s with those little bitty bass y’all have in Texas? The record largemouth in SC was 22.3 lbs when I moved to Texas, and I kept hearing people talking about a 5 lb bass like it was a whopper.

            Hell, Robert Earle Keene even wrote a song about a 5 lb. bass. Here, a 5 pounder is OK for a fish fry, but not something you’d have mounted and hang on the wall….. ahaha.

  13. Makes me glad I bought my “bland” Corolla instead of the eco-boosted Focus a lot of people were pushing me to get.

  14. Question/possible end-around:

    I know that the impending, progressively increasing MPG edict from our rulers is not measured in the same way as the EPA measures fuel efficiency, so the two numbers are actually different with the EPA’s being lower. Thus the 35.5 mpg mandate doesn’t actually equate to an EPA estimated 35.5 mpg (but its still ridiculously high). My question, that may not be readily answerable, is whether or not a manufacturer could game the system to provide consumers what they want.

    Let’s say we take a V8 with cylinder deactivation technology but take it to an extreme. Make a sort of low-power mode which uses all the lean burn, cylinder deactivation, fairy dust tech to get as many move as possible. Use this to do all the fuel economy testing. Only include a switch that gives you full access to the engine’s performance potential, say a sport mode, that can be engaged at the driver’s whim but that is not used for mpg testing. Pretty rapidly people would see they prefer the trade off of driving in sport mode vs getting high efficiency because efficiency mode would be snail slow. And those who REALLY wanted the best economy would still be able to get that. .

    In essence, this would be a more drastic extension of the sport mode that a lot of automatic transmissions use already. These cars are t tested in sport mode but in the sedate default mode. As long as the car comes from the factory set for low power Econ mode, that’s what they’d have to test it in.

    And everyone would suddenly see how intrusive government regulations are. Maybe we could call the switch by some catchy name. Like the “clover mode switch” or something.

    • And you think this is possible why, because our government overlords would suddenly allow us to think for ourselves or something? 😉

      • “because our government overlords would suddenly allow us to think for ourselves ”

        Maybe if they all got drunk enough…and their drinks were spiked with acid. ahaha 😉

        • ““because our government overlords would suddenly allow us to think for ourselves ”. I don’t think you need to encourage them on drinking. Now an aerosol delivery of a large dose of LSD and we might be talking people getting a conscience…..on a day when the prez and staff will be present.

  15. Interesting. I have heard of A Lot of Ford Eco Boosted truck buyers complaining, very loudly, that their truck’s mpg falls way short of the posted EPA numbers. Had not heard many complaints about this shuddering, impaired acceleration issue. Hopefully, it is not too widespread.

    But I’m glad to hear about, and have the chance to investigate it now. An Eco Boosted Flex or F 150 have been on my next vehicle “short list.” Hope you will keep us informed as this develops.

    • Hi Mike,

      I’ve found the mileage disappointing also. In real-world driving (my real world driving) of the F-150 w/EcoBoost, the mileage was what I’d expect out of a typical 5-ish liter V-8: High teens/low 20s overall. I didn’t see the upside – especially when one factors in the higher cost of the twin turbo engine, both up front and down the road. The latter would be my chief worry as a potential owner. I know Ford touts the durability of the 3.5 engine, but I wonder how it will fare after about 120,00 miles and 10-12 years… vs. a typical pushrod-type V-8.

    • Hey Mike,

      Check this out:

      Angry Ecoboost blues? Limp Mode and other BS

      I dont care if you wantch the videos or not but please click the links to help get the “hits” up.

      for the first 20,000 miles (plus or minus) I was a Major Ecoboost fan, since then my thoughts of Ford and This engine/truck have changed a little. What would you guys do about this?

      Starting around 20k miles my truck started missing while sitting at idle, a random CEL (which would not shop up on a scanner after it went off), a random reverse camera issue where it will not come on (or when it does come on it is black and white and very grainy looking), sometimes while trying to get onto an on ramp and gassing the truck hard it would fall on its face and return to idle (yes, while merging) and you would have to let of the gas and slowly reapply, when traveling at highway speeds the truck would mis or start stuttering and shaking (bad enough the steering wheel would shake up and down at least a 1/2″ (it happens in 5th and 6th gear then at about 32k miles the truck would go into limp mode while trying to pull a 6*10 single axle angle top lowboy.

      I took it to the shop (on 4/24/12 and had a few small things fixed but all of the above was on a list of problems I provided to the service adviser. A week later (4/30/12) they called me and told me to pick the truck up. I went and got it and on the repair order it said they re flashed the PCM and installed a new cat. On the way back to my office I could feel the mis at highway speeds again, i just took note of it and kept going begin i didnt have time that day to mess with it. That evening after leaving work and trying to get on the interstate it started the return to idle crap and about got me creamed.. The loaner truck I had borrowed while my truck was in the shop was going to be tied up for a few weeks so I couldn’t return it to the shop yet. All of this was on 4/30/12.

      Thursday (5/3/12) I was headed back to my office from a meeting and my CEL came on again so i pulled into the dealership to see if they could pull a code while the CEL was still on, I was afraid that if the CEL went off it would not store the code like before. They jumped on it and it had three codes (p0300, p0304, and p0430) the tech gave me a print out to bring back when I could leave it again and I left. The print out has a report that says “cylinder 4 misfire detected)

      On 5/21/12 I tried to pull a trailer to work with me hauling my lawn mower and the truck went back into limp mode and after about 20 miles it had lost all power.. I knew my Dad was either right in front or behind me so I called him and he come and towed my trailer to work for me. I took the truck back to the dealership that day and dropped it off again, this time i provided the same list to the SA and had updated notes written on it about the things that were fixed and the things that were not fixed. It would probably have happened sooner but my wife had a baby on the 8th and i took a week off of work and then didn’t do any outside work the few weekends following.

      on 5/29/12 the SA called me and told me I could pick up my truck, I asked her what was wrong with it and she said she didn’t know and it was not fixed. As you can imagine I started asking questions. She informed me that Ford wouldn’t authorize them to throw any parts at it because they was not sure what was wrong with it but they had a TSB that would be out in 4-6 weeks and that would fix it. I asked her what I was suppose to use for towing in the mean time and she said he didnt know. I then called the service manager and spoke to him about the issue. He told me the same thing and told me they would not be able to give me a loaner vehicle because ford wouldn’t pay for it. Because I could drive my truck.

      I called ford and started a case and was told the regional rep would contact me in 24 hours.

      When the rep called me I was not at my desk so after hearing what she had to say I asked her If could call her back from my office phone. when I first spoke to her she told me that would not give me a loaner vehicle because I could use my truck for it’s intended purpose and that the truck was not designed for towing. I about lost it… I told her have you seen a single ecoboost commercial? at this point I asked her If I could retrun her call and record the conversation becaues I was not believeing what she was saying.

      Out conversation is below. I called her and told her I was recording and then this started…

      • It hopefully sounds like an electronics glitch, rather than a terminal flaw in the whole engine/turbos system. Nevertheless I won’t buy one until it is identified, and permanently corrected.

        The mileage issue doesn’t concern me as much. If we got the truck (instead of the Flex,) it would be my wife’s daily driver, and she is a feather foot. She’d probably exceed the EPA combined estimate.

      • I’m wondering if it’s the same thing happening to the BMW’s.

        I was chatting to two of my mechanic friends at Bavarian Machine the other day…kind of noodling around with the idea of getting a good used 135i and putting a Dinan kit on it 🙂

        Their two concerns are:
        1) operating temperatures–they said the oil that comes out of those things looks like it’s been sitting on a hotplate three months
        2) carbon build-up on the intake valves.

        There’s no fuel washing over those valves. Instead, the inevitable flow reversion at certain throttle/rpm combinations will let some fuel and/or exhaust drift back on them. They said some of the DI N54 and N55 engines they’ve seen look like a narrow coal seem in the intakes.

        Audi and BMW have been playing with various schemes to get some fuel on those valves to clean them off–playing with cam timing and injecting timing to wash them off.

        But I wonder–would a good hard Italian tune-up fix the problem? Go out and beat the hell out of the engine for a few miles, 100+ sustained?

        I remember the debacle with clogged inlets on some 80’s BMW’s. They didn’t account for our gasoline’s high sulfur; thousands of people had their heads cleaned with blown walnut shells at the dealers.

        But better gas mileage is good for the enviiiiiiiiiironment, so shut up, pay up, and sit down serfs!

        • Hi Meth,

          Yup – could be.

          Fundamentally, I think the issue is overcomplexity.

          They are turning car engines into incredibly elaborate systemseach of which must be operating optimally for the whole to function as designed. The problem here is the inevitable degradation of one (or several) of these systems, or components, over time. What works great in the lab may not work so well out in the real world.

          A TBI-injected pushrod V-8 may not be “high tech,” but the damn thing will run for 200k without requiring much more than occasional filter/fluid changes.

          • When I was in Mechanical Engineering school so long ago, the “big concept” everyone was talking about was “Over-engineering.” Why make it so that the product would last longer than the first thing that’s going to break?
            You have just illustrated the inevitable result, here: Degradation of any one or more components brings the whole system to its knees. So a 1950s car can be driven routinely with minimal issues, yet a modern machine needs to be tuned frequently, have parts replaced frequently, etc. It’s the trick of razors and blades: Razor (handle) is cheap; but the blades get costly.
            In medical terms, it’s why we’ll never find the “cure” for cancer – the profits lie in patented drugs for treatment; a cure means no repeat sales.

            We’ve got the wrongest POSSIBLE people doing the wrongest possible things, and we wonder why we’re falling apart.

            How long before we can 3DPrint ENGINES, and the printers use metals instead of just plastic? 😀

            And will the Gov’t make the plans illegal, and mandate that the printer’s OS checks against a list of designs to make sure we’re not making something illegal?

            • That’s it exactly, Jean.

              Cars are a mature technology; we long ago passed the point of diminishing returns. A circa 1980s-era car has everything one needs for reliable, durable, reasonably fuel efficient/reasonably low emissions and cost-effective transportation.

              Everything since then has imposed more and more complexity/cost for very small payoffs.

              Example: A given engine with a TBI injector and 02 sensor to maintain the A/F ratio is very efficient. How much more efficient is a direct-injected engine with multiple 02 sensors and close-coupled cats? It’s a fractional improvement in terms of emissions – and the gas mileage improvement is not at all impressive, relative to the cost. It would be much cheaper (and so, cost effective) to keep the simpler TBI engine but install it in a light-weight car. 40 MPG cars were common in the early ’80s. Without overdrive transmissions or PFI or DI.

              It’s become comical. Only not many people are clued in to the joke that’s been played on them.

    • I believe that vehicles are being designed to the tests. The government tests. Designing to pass tests can have bad results for the real world customers when those tests weren’t developed as part of a customer feed-back loop. Government tests are just some bureaucrats’ good idea. They are not tests because a construction company bought 12 pick up trucks and found in their usage something wasn’t to their liking or broke.

  16. “Thus, Ford – and everyone else making cars – must try to reconcile conflicting requirements, one natural (customer preferences) the other artificial (government edicts) and they must do it right now.”

    Ah, yes. The old ‘interstate commerce clause’ strikes again. Federal laws which are defended as being ‘necessary and proper’ for exercising this non-existent federal power include such draconian law as the CAFE standards.

    My apologies to all fans of the US Constitution, but this clause is, to me, more evidence that the USC was written the way it was to allow growth of the federal leviathan.

    This is why I maintain that Aaron Burr did us all a great service (though belatedly) when he met with Alexander Hamilton one morning and lit his ass up with a .69 caliber duelling pistol. Too bad he couldn’t have done the same thing to James Madison.

    • Ed, they use that interstate commerce clause like a red-headed step child. They even use it for countless victimless crimes. I give you growing pot that is never expected to cross any line except the water line on your bong. The use it for everything “individuals” may do but nothing that affects corporations. Since the Supremes ruled that corporations are individuals, surely there’s some way to reverse that back to being an out for “persons”, the very thing the Supremes ruled corporations were.

      • Yep, that ruling is used to claim precedent in any case where a corporation will benefit from being a “person”, but is useless in arguing a case where the corporation invokes its establishment as a limited liability entity.

        I think that whoever first came up with the idea of hanging all lawyers, was onto something.

      • Step Two: After Step One, “Dismantle Destroy and Dismember the Federal Reserve” is “Eliminate Corporate Personhood”.

        Who the hell thought it was a good idea to make a corporation a “person”?

        Not many…which is why it’s a relatively late invention–1886.

        By, you guessed it, the “Supreme” Court.

        Luv ya guys, you ass-clowns.

    • The Constitution is no more at fault for being abused and ignored than a tender sapling is when its owner allows rabbits to chew on it. It can’t defend itself. Only we can defend it, and if we don’t…

      • I used to be a staunch defender of the Constitution. But, as I learned more about its origins – and came to understand that it was written purposely to allow for the federal leviathan we now suffer under, I came to revile it.

        The animating spirit we (and here I am making an assumption about you and I) admire is contained not in the Constitution per se, but rather in the Bill of Rights. This addendum was tacked on to placate the honest patriots – who otherwise would never have agreed to ratify the rest of it.

        Note that the Bill of rights clearly articulates individual rights – and its wording is far more precise. The Constitution, on the other hand, is all about the “rights” of the government – and deliberately employs vague, weasel wording such as “general welfare.” This is a critical point. The document is a legal document written by lawyers – and lawyers choose their wording with extreme precision, for very specific purposes. Hamilton and the other federalists were no fools. They knew very well what they were up to.

        As someone else here posted the other day: Aaron Burr did us a service – just too late.

        • Eric,

          I was informed by an attorney (there are a few good ones) friend of my last week that government has no rights, it has power. And we need to bring back the duel, although I doubt that any of todays spineless politicians would accept.

          • Hi Tony,

            Yes, there are – as in any profession, just about.

            On the duel: If you approach this from the standpoint of “crime” – properly speaking – requiring a victim then a duel mutually agreed upon by the participants is not a crime. They each agree to accept the consequences and enter into the duel willingly, without having been coerced to do so. Hence, the outcome may be tragic for one (or both). But arguably, it’s not a crime.

            This business of the state assuming the role of victim/complainant is an absurdity. The state is not a real individual and as such has no rights – and thus, cannot be a victim, by definition.

          • Tony’s got it right. Duelling had a beneficial function. It showed people up for who they were and what they were up to.

            If a politician resorted to cheap, fallacious debate tactics, such as making an ad hominem attack on an opponents character instead of addressing the issue, he could be called out. If he declined a challenge he lost credibility and became an object of contempt and derision.

            Imagine Chuck Schumer or Lindsey Graham being subject to a challenge to a duel. Neither would have had a career past the point they declined the challenge. Neither has the courage to accept a challenge of that kind.

            Of course, before the unratified 17th amendment was enacted, a Senator who showed himself to be a liar or a coward would have been removed from office by his home state’s general assembly. His replacement would show up and he would be left adrift in DC to get home as best he could.

            • Ed,


              There is something inherently healthy about being able to “call out” a miscreant, a person who has abused your honor.

              It’s a natural check on the slime that currently oozes over this society.

          • But if we brought back the duel, 90% of our politicians (at least on the federal level) would be dead within a week.

            So, what are we waiting for? Oh right, they make all the rules.

          • Amen.

            I’ve said here before what a great tradition that was; it kept these little shits and miscreants in the shadows where they belong…

            …and eliminated them when they showed their pasty faces.

        • The Constitution was a clever document because it actually was stating individual rights and freedom but the authors never limited how much the federal terrorists could steal from us. This was deliberate because they knew they could eventually own people and just rip up the document.

          • Why would they write it (The Constitution) in this manner if it would not be possible for them to reap the benefits in their life time?

            • Hi Mith,

              Here’s a theory in re that:

              Most of the founders were Masons. They take a long-term/multi-generational view. Laying the foundation, so to speak, for what is to come.

          • Mith, it’s possible that a few of those who pushed for this, Hamilton in particular, did benefit once the USC was ratified. Madison certainly benefited if his career is any indication.

            Change agents like Hamilton may also get their reward simply by virtue of having been the agents of change, but in Hamilton’s case, it’s likely that he benefited financially.

            His ego and lust for influence eventually led him into a fatal mistake, offending the honor of a man who wouldn’t bear an insult. He paid with his life.

          • Thanks for the replies. I have heard about some of the country’s founders being masons.

            At times I start thinking about the line from the Who: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

          • @Eric:

            re: founders being Masons.

            Let’s not forget that Adam Weishaupt founded the Illuminati May 1, 1776!

            There are myriad sources tying them together; as I’ve alluded to before, I am more and more convinced there’s a deep evil that has worked over dozens of generations to bring us to the brink of a terrible darkness.

        • Not to go too far astray off the topic of hopelessly complicated cars, but the Constitution in fact is, or was, a set of restrictions on the federal government. The feds couldn’t even tax beyond tariffs and excise taxes before our great-grandparents voted for the 16th amendment. Madison and Hamilton both thought the Bill of Rights logically unnecessary since no power not mentioned in the Constitution could be used by the feds. If we hewed to both letter and spirit of that document, we would be okay.

          But we haven’t. Even the Articles of Confederation, from which the Anti-Federalists made some good arguments, could have been sapped and gradually distorted into a device of tyranny over time if citizens didn’t care.

          So I don’t see the Constitution as being at fault except in this sense: It did increase federal power compared to that of the A. of C., and we just couldn’t handle the power. The Anti-Feds argued well that the Constitution could be abused. But so can any governing arrangement including, I suspect, a libertarian approach. As one critic of Blackwater (the mercenary army in Iraq) noted, here was a private law enforcement/governing body that was still totally corrupt.

          • All true, Ross.

            My main issues with the Constitution are:

            It used devastatingly imprecise phraseology, whether by design or inadvertence. “General welfare” and “interstate commerce” being the biggies. “General welfare,” in particular, opened up Pandora’s Box – since all manner of collectivist, authoritarian garbage can be justified on that basis.

            Two – much more generally – it did not articulate either individual rights or the NAP.

            Of course, it never meant to. The founders were not Libertarians – not even Jefferson. The best of them were minarchists. They all accepted in principle the authority of the state – that is, of some collective to lord it over the individual. They typically couched everything in terms of “the people” – and so on. That is, the collective. Probably, most never realized the contradictions inherent in their own philosophy.

            If you look at US history, we’ve been under authoritarian rule in principle (and often, in fact) since the beginning. It has merely ebbed and flowed.

            Even in the late 18th century – within just a few years of 1776 – the government (“our” government) was threatening to hang people who declined to pay the ordered taxes – and imprisoning people without trial for giving voice to opinions critical of the government (even if those opinions were based in fact).

            So, today is just an elaboration of yesterday.

            We need to advance to the next level – and move on.

          • “Madison and Hamilton both thought the Bill of Rights logically unnecessary”… or so they said. They resisted the addition of the BoR because of the precise wording contained in the text of the amendments, restricting federal expansion of powers.

            In later years, Madison even denied agreeing with Jefferson on the issue of nullification, until his actual written words were shown to him.

            Hamilton, of course, went right on trying to subvert the first 10 amendments right up until the day he got his buckwheats.

            The USC was an obvious coup, even to the people living then. Of course, then as now, the common people had no input into the process of ratification. A handful of people made the determination for everyone else.

      • I don’t appeal to the “Magic Scroll Theory” anymore. I was fine with the Constitution until I read up to the “Congress shall have Power To…” part. Then it was “Fuck that.” Seems kind of ridiculous to believe I’m somehow obligated to a 200 year old contract drawn up between a bunch of now dead guys who claimed dominion over a chunk of real estate surrounded by imaginary lines in the dirt. I wonder what would happen if I put some words on a piece of paper claiming I could steal a chunk of your salary?

        Larken Rose explains it best:

        • iberns1, what’s particularly odius about the “contract” is that nobody signed it. It was implemented under the guise of being ratified by a large enough number of state assemblies (as established in its own article) and therefore declared valid.

          Maybe we’re meant to believe that it binds us by unanimous consent. “With no objection, so ordered”. The lie contained therein is that no objection will be recognized, and there’s no means prescribed for rejecting the entire thing out of hand, only a tedious rigamarole of a process for amending it.

          Smells like a scam to me.

      • Ross, the Constitution was designed to be a means for morally retarded politicians to expand federal control. It certainly is at fault for the abuse it allows (and encourages), with its vague terminology and weasel wording.

        My view is that Hamilton and Madison shouldn’t be revered as geniuses, they should be reviled as shameless con artists. The same is true of everyone involved in bringing the original articles before the sitting Congress under the AoC. Most of the Federalists deserved to hang for treason, nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance.

        • See Gary North’s “Conspiracy in Philadelphia,” available free online. ( He describes the Constitutional Convention as a coup d’etat, since it was called by the Continental Congress specifically to amend the Articles of Confederation and instead did away with them.

  17. Car makers like to invent things by themselves. Turbocharging is a fairly well known concept, but it seems like everyone does it differently. Many manufacturers are putting 2 turbos in line, one that reacts to low exhaust pressure (like at takeoff) and another that will take over when pressure increases. VW/Audi uses a complicated fin adjustment that changes depending on boost called for and exhaust pressure (and costs a ton to replace, IIRC). The idea is to avoid turbo lag (which is what it sounds like is happening to the Ecoboost engine.

    It seems to me that some standardization would be a good idea. I expect the Euros to do it first, since there’s a history of coach builders who use other company’s engines and a lot of manufacturers already just using Bosch parts (although most of them are custom designed).

    • I have read so much about the scary aspect of Ecoboost I wonder why so little about the performance benefits?
      I own a 2013 F150 that is an absolute monster in disguise of course. This engine has performed so well I just look forward to driving again. Tons of torque, very predictable and overall just a great engine.
      If a problem exists let’s fix it lets not roll up the whole operation and call it a failure.

      • Hi J,

        The Ecoboost’s mileage (16 city, 22 highway in the F-150 2WD) is only slightly better than that delivered by a comparably powerful naturally aspirated V-8 (5.0 liters; 15 city, 21 highway). But the V-8 is an inherently less stressed (and much less complex) engine. It is definitely cheaper to build it – probably cheaper to service it.

        The only reason Ford is going to smaller displacement/on-demand-power (turbo) engines is because of the need to comply with CAFE (the federal government’s fleet fuel economy edicts). CAFE-wise, it matters a lot if a given vehicle averages say 26.5 MPG vs. 24 MPG. But does such a difference matter all that much to the individual buyer? I doubt it. Now, if the Ecoboost V-6 delivered significantly better mileage than a comparably powerful non-turbo V-8, I’d see the sense in it.

  18. Eric,

    One thing about the LADA is that it has (had?) good ground clearance. This was good when I traveled on not so smooth roads in the Greek countryside.


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