Category Archives: engineering

Subaru Recalls 634,000 Legacy, Outback and Tribeca Models for Fires

Subaru is recalling 634,000 Legacy, Outback and Tribeca models because the “puddle lights” in the running boards of the crossover SUVs can short, melt and possibly start a fire. Continue reading

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Toyota Settles Lawsuits for $1.1 Billion and Will Modify Millions of Vehicles with Electronically Controlled Gas Pedals to Stop Runaways

In an engineering lapse of monumental consequences that included several deaths, the computer programming on affected vehicles when confronted with both brake and accelerator inputs did not favor the brake input for its electronic engine controls. Such over-ride software is in widespread use at other automakers. Continue reading

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Less Expensive Chevrolet Cruze Airbag Earns 5 Stars from NHTSA

The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze using a groundbreaking single inflator airbag has been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at a maximum 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score. The development is potentially significant for car buyers because the 2013 Cruze model switched to a less expensive, more compact and lighter airbag design from Takata. Continue reading

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Car Spy Jim Dunne Catches a Revised 2015 Ford Mustang

Jim Dunne caught a look at what Ford Motor is working on for the 2015 model year Mustang, which he opines will have an independent rear suspension. At least that’s the impression he got from viewing this rear view of a Ford Mustang test vehicle. Taillights, upper panels and the license plate mount are the same as current Mustangs, so why cut out the lowest panel? Continue reading

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Exhaust Gas Regen and 48-Volt Cars – Next Efficiency Breakthrough?

European automakers are rethinking the need for 12-volt cars. This move toward 48 volts, little noted in the U.S. media, has significant implications for a new generation of potentially cost-effective mild or semi-mild hybrid vehicles. A 48-volt standard could be a major factor for enabling the required motor-generator efficiency and power levels to make a practical hybrid at a lower cost. Continue reading

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GM China Expands Advanced Technical Center in Shanghai

Increasingly, sophisticated engineering and development work once done in the U.S. is being shifted to China. Last August, GM began fabricating and testing prototype battery cells and complete systems at the ATC. At the same time, SAIC and Shanghai GM and the Automotive Technical Center opened China’s largest proving grounds. Continue reading

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Volkswagen Recalls Mexican Built Beetles for Defective Airbags

Volkswagen is recalling model year 2012-2013 Beetles equipped with leather seats because the airbags may not deploy properly in an accident. Continue reading

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54.5 in 2025 Subject of Critical CAR CAFE Seminar

The Center for Automotive Research will examine the implications for product development of the 54.5 mpg CAFE fuel mandate that is now a federal regulation. Currently, estimates for the cost of compliance range from zero to $10,000 per vehicle for what is a difficult engineering task that has become – once again and as always – an ideological battleground, with posturing from automakers, regulators and pressure groups. The ability of product development engineers and their auto companies to meet the new standards and/or garner credits to offset some vehicle shortfalls will determine the type of vehicle you can buy, and how much you will pay for it. With safety regulations already on the books potentially adding thousands to the cost of a new vehicle, the social implications for automobility are serious; Moreover, if the implementation of CAFE regulations goes badly it could damage one of the U.S.’s best wealth and job creating industries at a time when growth is desperately needed. Continue reading

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Chinese Auto Industry Initial Quality at All Time High

Chinese automakers made large improvements in initial quality during 2012, narrowing the gap between domestic and international brands. As a result, the auto industry in the world’s largest auto market set a record low in overall average problems per vehicle. Continue reading

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2014 Corvette Sticks with A Revised LT1 V8 Engine

When Chevrolet Corvette arrives late next year, most of the sports car will be all new, but not the 6.2L V8 engine. The latest Corvette LT1 engine, the first of the so-called Gen 5 family of Small Block engines, combines several advanced technologies, including direct injection for the first time, cylinder fuel shut off and continuously variable valve timing to support an advanced combustion system. Zero-to-60 mph times of less than four seconds are predicted for the base car. The new LT1 is the third engine in the Corvette’s history to be so-named, with previous versions introduced in 1970 (Gen 1) and 1992 (Gen 2). Continue reading

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Water Absorbing Porous Asphalt Pavement Use Increases in 2012

Porous asphalt pavement has been around for years, but its strength and durability have been improved by the use of high-performance materials and better road engineering practices. As a result, more high profile projects are underway, including one planned in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Continue reading

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Honda Expands Acura TL Fire Recall to add 573,000 Accord Cars

Honda is expanding an Acura recall for defective power steering hoses that can cause fires to a combined total of more than 625,000 vehicles, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filing revealed today. This is an additional recall since the initial Acura one last May. Affected are 2007-2008 Acura TL and now – far more numerous – 2003-2007 Accord V6-powered cars. Honda in Japan eventually decided to recall the Accords after a fire was reported by a U.S. dealer in early June. However, parts are not yet available for Accord owners. They will have to wait until early 2013 because replacement parts for Accord V6 vehicles are different from the parts for the recalled Acura TL models. The supplier was not identified. Continue reading

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GM Claims Aluminum Spot Welding Innovation

General Motors Research & Development has invented what it claims is an industry-first aluminum welding technology, which it predicts will increase the use of the lightweight metal on future vehicles. The latest fuel economy regulations are forcing automakers to improve efficiency. Simple Newtonian physics explains that the force needed to accelerate a mass decreases with weight reduction, for example, less fuel is needed to move a lighter vehicle – if the weight reduction is not used to increase performance, a traditional industry response. Continue reading

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Union Pacific Unveils Low Emissions Hybrid Locomotive

Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) today unveiled an experimental locomotive that will test three emissions-reducing technologies – exhaust gas recirculation, diesel oxidation catalysts and diesel particulate filters. While automotive enthusiasts might snicker about how far behind the heavy-duty diesel engine industry is lagging what are now virtually emissions free automobiles, the new locomotive is a significant step toward meeting EPA Tier 4 emission standards that are finally addressing large commercial vehicles. Continue reading

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SAE Convergence 2012 offers Telematics Courses on Connected Cars

SAE International will hold three professional development courses in conjunction with Convergence 2012 this October 16-17 in Detroit. In a focus on the latest technology now used in automotive electronics, seminars will be on Autonomous Vehicle Positioning Systems, Wireless Communications in the Autonomous Connected Vehicle, and Software Architectures and Security for Connected Vehicular Systems. Continue reading

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