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my car's too loud

Bill Dog (726542) writes | more than 7 years ago

Toys 13

On the plus side, I learned to drive a manual transmission in this car, 6 years ago next week. It was great for that, as you could always hear where the revs were at. (Not to mention it has the power to start from a stop, up an incline, in 3rd gear. For those beginner's moments of confusion. (Of which I had all too many.) Very forgiving/hard to stall.) In fact, I test drove a manual Corvette at one of those GM events when they came to town, the only other manual I've tried since learning, and

On the plus side, I learned to drive a manual transmission in this car, 6 years ago next week. It was great for that, as you could always hear where the revs were at. (Not to mention it has the power to start from a stop, up an incline, in 3rd gear. For those beginner's moments of confusion. (Of which I had all too many.) Very forgiving/hard to stall.) In fact, I test drove a manual Corvette at one of those GM events when they came to town, the only other manual I've tried since learning, and it was eerie as I couldn't hear anything, so I just shifted after what seemed like reasonable pauses. But it was like driving deaf.

Another plus is that my car was cheap and is light, probably partly because they saved money by not bothering with putting any sound-deadening material in the car. Listed as 3273 lbs, which isn't bad. Especially compared to the current version, at 3450.

But there's a downside. Frequently I get a fit of "irrational exuberance", and let it out a little. Torque feels good. But my car's so loud (note: completely stock exhaust, in fine repair) people around me get the wrong impression, I think.

Last night I went ripping up a hill, speed limit 45, so I ended my rapid rise in velocity at 50, 5 mph over the limit as I always drive. So some dork/dorkette in some, I don't know, Scion Celica or something, is coming up in my rear view mirror, and goes whizzing by at maybe 65 mph. Not on a freeway, but in a residential neighborhood. Ya, like the guy in the Mustang GT is going to be impressed with your little 4-cylinder impression of "shock and awe".

I'm not racing anyone, I don't race anyone, I'm 41 years old, no tickets since 1993, no accidents since a teenager. I'm not challenging anyone, I'm not showing off, I'm just having a little fun in my own damn car. But it's loud enough, that if someone is next to me, they interpret it as flaunting.

The next one is going to be a quiet vehicle. If I can afford it at the time, it'll be something like the link on my info page. Optional starting for the MY '08 is the Dual Mode Performance Exhaust, for $1195. LOL. Quiet and reserved at normal driving speeds, but something flips and it opens up at higher revs for a bigger sound. And a whole whopping 6 more hp over the std exhaust. Whoopdeedo. No thanks. I think only the rich kid contingent will be springing for that option.

But any other car will take some getting used to. Then again, maybe that's the case anyways with stick shifts? (Different clutch feels, etc.?)

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My first stick... (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 7 years ago | (#20259061)

My first stick was an '86 blazer, and not the little s10. I think my father still has neck pains trying to teach me to drive. It took me a couple days to get it smooth enough that a passenger would not get whiplash, but once I got the hang of it I was pretty smooth with that car. I think the added weight of the vehicle helped make it a smoother ride if I was feeling fiesty. It was a 4 speed (L, 1, 2, 3) where 3rd was from anywhere from 35-95. I could start off in 2nd and still get the tires squawking which I found entertaining at that point. I so miss that car.

One of my girlfriends had a geo metro with a stick, which drove considerabley different. I don't think I care for a little car with a stick, as it just doesn't feel right, or perhaps doesn't seem useful. on the blazer it was nice to be able to choose which gear I was in for different purposes, but a little car, well, there really is only one purpose and that is to drive from point A to point B. You don't haul anything, tow a trailor, go off road, or anything that having control over the power of the vehicle matters.

Re:My first stick... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20269187)

I only drive sticks most of the time. My wife only drives automatics. This creates an interesting difference. My current car, a 1999 Ford Escort with the 2 liter engine, has enough overlap in the gears that I really only need 1st, 3rd, and 5th- and 5th is an overdrive gear which really saves on the gas mileage.

Re:My first stick... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20274831)

I think my father still has neck pains trying to teach me to drive.

Heh, I still create that whiplash effect. Esp. 1st to 2nd. Maybe because it's somewhat of a light car and the inertia hasn't built up yet like it has when moving among the higher gears. I've given up hope of ever being able to drive one of these things smoothly. Coordination is not one of my gifts.

Like torque, but hate noise? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20262675)

Too bad you're not in the correct caste to do this, but perhaps you really need to check out the Tesla Roadster* [teslamotors.com] . Can't beat that 0-60 time with any old-fashioned ICE.

--------

Note- downside is that they've decided to delay shipping another year, as advances in Li-Ion batteries they were expecting failed to materialize, limiting them to 150 miles on an 8 hour charge in testing, instead of the 400 miles they were expecting.

Re:Like torque, but hate noise? (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20274807)

From their web site: "100% Torque, 100% of the Time"! They're a little dishonest, tho -- they're comparing theirs to a "4-Cylinder High-Performance Engine" (cough-oxy-cough-moron) torque curve. "This is the precise opposite of what you experience with a gasoline engine, which has very little torque at a low rpm..." Well, it depends on what you build and how you build it. My inexpensive car, generates a peak torque of 302 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. The Corvette from a few years ago at least was generating 300 ft-lb starting at only 1000 rpm. I think peak torque at the time was around 350, and it red-lined around 6000 rpm, so 85-100% torque 83% of the time. For 50% of the price. The Z06 version does 0-60 0.4 seconds faster. At 2/3rds the price. The Tesla is an impressive car with impressive stats, but I'm in the caste that focuses on "bang for the buck". Old-fashioned or not.

Re:Like torque, but hate noise? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294471)

How many ft-lbs of torque does your gasoline engine produce at 1 RPM? That's the real question when comparing gas to electric. Well, that, and with a good electric design, you can dump the transmission altogether, so once these things start being mass produced, they'll get cheaper...

Re:Like torque, but hate noise? (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20297379)

...at 1 RPM?

My car idles at about 700-800 rpm, and due probably to the somewhat high-ratio rear-end gearing I have to pre-rev it a little to align the engine speed with how fast 1st gear wants to turn when the car is just starting off. So anything below 1000 rpm I don't care about. I don't need torque at theoretically infinitesimal rpms. You need torque in your normal driving range. Which is why small engines are so unpleasant (and so fuel economical) -- they generate their power outside (above) the rev band where one normally drives.

Already my car can give you minor whiplash driving at parking lot speeds in 1st gear. I would in no way want gobs of torque in an electric car starting at only 1 rpm. I predict that in high-torque electric cars, for relatively mass adoption, they'll take steps to de-linearize the effect of the electric motors. For example, I once read about Infiniti introducing some kind of active suspension in their M car that completely eliminated body roll. In consumer testing they discovered that many found this disorienting, so they actually dialed some slop (in handling) back in! Instant peak torque would just mean more soccer moms crashing. Like the lady who was backing out her SUV in my condo complex, and managed to punch it all the way thru the garage door on the opposite side and into their washer and dryer. People aren't ready for that, as is, so it'll be tweaked. So we'll still get very little torque at 1 rpm.

Re:Like torque, but hate noise? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20297531)

My car idles at about 700-800 rpm, and due probably to the somewhat high-ratio rear-end gearing I have to pre-rev it a little to align the engine speed with how fast 1st gear wants to turn when the car is just starting off. So anything below 1000 rpm I don't care about. I don't need torque at theoretically infinitesimal rpms. You need torque in your normal driving range. Which is why small engines are so unpleasant (and so fuel economical) -- they generate their power outside (above) the rev band where one normally drives.

Where ideally, in an electric car, you've got a direct 1:1 engine to drive wheel ratio. By the time you get to 1000 RPM, you're going VERY fast!

Already my car can give you minor whiplash driving at parking lot speeds in 1st gear. I would in no way want gobs of torque in an electric car starting at only 1 rpm. I predict that in high-torque electric cars, for relatively mass adoption, they'll take steps to de-linearize the effect of the electric motors. For example, I once read about Infiniti introducing some kind of active suspension in their M car that completely eliminated body roll. In consumer testing they discovered that many found this disorienting, so they actually dialed some slop (in handling) back in! Instant peak torque would just mean more soccer moms crashing. Like the lady who was backing out her SUV in my condo complex, and managed to punch it all the way thru the garage door on the opposite side and into their washer and dryer. People aren't ready for that, as is, so it'll be tweaked. So we'll still get very little torque at 1 rpm.

Well, actually, I suspect that would be done in software, rather than hardware- it just doesn't make sense to include a transmission on an electric vehicle, but you can "pretend" with a computer (by ramping up the power slowly, regardless of what the right foot is doing, something like how current controllers of model trains work to simulate prototypical movement in a train that really masses a few ounces instead of several thousand pounds).

Re:Like torque, but hate noise? (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20299275)

...direct 1:1 engine to drive wheel ratio.

Depends on what turns out to be an acceptablly efficient and reliable electric motor for cars. If it turns out that it is more like a desktop fan (high rpm) than a ceiling fan (much lower rpm), then we will need gearing. And maybe more than one.
 
... I suspect that would be done in software, rather than hardware-

Torque is a force. And if this force is constant beginning at 1 rpm, how do you lessen this in software? Some kind of torque limiter, like a slipping clutch (i.e. hardware), is needed. It could be software-controlled, altho doesn't have to be -- I think automatic transmissions's torque converters use properties of fluid mechanics to do the inverse, torque multiplication.

What size electric motors do you think they'd have to be to have 4 of them be able to start and comfortably cruise say a 2000 lb with human and other cargo vehicle, including the weight of themselves, with a direct 1:1 connection each to its wheel? What size electric motor puts out, for example, 300 lb-ft of torque? I don't know, it's not my area, but I'd guess pretty big honkin' heavy ones. We're not talking wheelchairs or golf carts here. Something that can replace the sports car and SUV.

Re:Like torque, but hate noise? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319953)

What size electric motors do you think they'd have to be to have 4 of them be able to start and comfortably cruise say a 2000 lb with human and other cargo vehicle, including the weight of themselves, with a direct 1:1 connection each to its wheel?

Goodyear seems to think about the size of the wheel itself- they sell a "inverse" wheel motor complete with brake, motor, and tire that is used in Europe on hybrid city bus designs right now.

What size electric motor puts out, for example, 300 lb-ft of torque? I don't know, it's not my area, but I'd guess pretty big honkin' heavy ones. We're not talking wheelchairs or golf carts here. Something that can replace the sports car and SUV.

Actually, my brother did this- the 80hp engine he put in my grandmother's old Datsun Z-series was impressively small (though still pretty heavy for it's size). It could have fit in the space for the transmission- but back then we didn't know, so we left the automatic transmission in place, sapping about half the energy while never actually getting out of first gear.

I've experienced them being different (1)

Ashtead (654610) | more than 7 years ago | (#20275085)

I once had a job cleaning rental cars and got to try a large variety of mostly manual transmissons and models. The rental cars at the airport had to be driven a few kilometers to the gas station to be cleaned, washed and topped up, to be ready for the next customer.

These cars, though all were recent models having gone less than 15000 km, were nearly all different in the way they behaved and had to be treated on starting. The force on the gas pedal that would over-rev one car would stall another; I recall the Volvo 240s and the big Fords tended to require special care, while the Mazdas and the small Volkswagens were much easier.

And then there were the Peugeots where the turn-signal handle was on the other side of the steering column, so we'd always start the windshield wipers on attempting to signal for a left turn -- fun job while it lasted.

Re:I've experienced them being different (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20281283)

The force on the gas pedal that would over-rev one car would stall another;...

Interesting. I've also heard that clutch pedal travel, and where in the travel it engages, differs amongst cars. On mine, it seems like an awfully long distance (within only a tiny bit of which the interesting thing happens), and actually where the point of interest happens seems to drift, if I'm not just crazy. Sometimes it's waaaay up near the beginning of the pedal's travel to the floor. Which I find awkward.

Re:I've experienced them being different (1)

Ashtead (654610) | more than 7 years ago | (#20282147)

The variation I've experienced comes from the wear on the clutch. In general, when the clutch is new (as was the case for the rental cars), the clutch pedal engages near the bottom of its travel. As the discs wear, the "point of engagement" slowly moves upwards. On the previous car, I remember this was a noticable change when the clutch had been replaced -- over the course of 150000 kms, that gradual upwards movement is hardly noticed.

The linkage between the pedal and the mechanism can be hydraulic or mechanical, and there are mechanisms for adjustment of the travel of the engagement mechanism. Either system should give reproducible action if they are working properly, but hydraulics can leak and wire can get stuck or break, so there are several possible failures. Another thing that might make a difference is the kind of shoe in use: the thickness of the sole and the general way the shoe fits the foot may change the perception of how far up the pedal is released when engaging the clutch.

The clutch should engage fairly far down on the pedal, that makes it easier to operate. I'd expect that different models and makes of cars do these things differently, just like the feel of the gear-shift varies quite a lot between cars.

I have had cars with either system, the old car that I have now uses a hydraulic system, where return springs and suchlike have to be fine-tuned, or the pedal gets stuck fully down. I'd have to have a bare left foot and pull it back using my toes ... just as well that I only use this car during the summer!

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