How does a CVT Transmission work

A question that some of us ask ourselves. Or have even been asked by friends or customers. I have a car with a CVT transmission and I have always wondered how a CVT actually worked. I knew it was belt driven but I didn’t know how the belt was driven and how one belt could do the work making it go through “gears”. Now that CVT transmissions are more main stream that they once were most of us have ridden in a car with a CVT. The number one thing we notice first is that there is not Shift/Step feeling as it switches gears. CVT Transmissions are made to give the engine efficiency under acceleration and going up hills. They also give you improved gas mileage and over the years the benefits are starting too finally out way the cons of owning one. CVT transmissions were not always the most reliable when they first started being introduced to cars but we will get into that later.

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CVT Transmissions have 3 main components. There is a Drive pulley, Driven pulley, and a belt. The belts are known to be either high strength rubber or metal. The two pulleys also have clutches and sheathes on them that will move one side of the pulley to make it wider or narrower depdnding on the ratio the cars transmission computer decides it needs to be in. By doing this you have an almost infinite number of ratios. When this happens the other pulley will do the opposite to change the ratio of how much output needs to make it to the wheels. Because of this you do not get any kind “shift” or “Stepping feelings”. The drive pulley is connected to the cars crankshaft. The driven pulley is called so because the drive pulley is turning it. That is known as the output pulley and the cars driveshaft is connected to that.

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As you can see in the picture it is a pretty simple concept considering that of a normal automatic transmission that is a nightmare to even look at the inside of. There are multiple types of CVT transmissions but the main one we are going over today is the belt driven type.

The advantages of owning a CVT transmission are tremendous! I have to say I love my car and the loss of “Shift shock” and I always have power whenever I need it. No need to wait for the transmission to shift and get that power. You will also have improved fuel efficiency, there is always better control over emissions and the ride is exceptionally smooth. Some cons of owning one can be the expense of have to replace it and earlier CVT transmissions were not the most reliable. Although they are getting much better throughout the years some people have sworn off of them because of past reliability issues. Also the weak point of these transmissions is the belt. The quality of the belts has been questionable throughout the years. Some last forever and some break within 70K miles, I wouldn’t worry about it though because most manufacturers give a decent warranty on power train.

Finally I have a bonus question for you. What was the first u.s. production car to have a CVT transmission?

 

Iconic Movie Cars – The A-Team – 1983 GMC G-Series Van

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If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire The A-Team. That’s right, this week’s movie car is 1983 G-Series van from The A-Team. I grew up watching this show and what a great show it was! As the opening narration starts:

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

-John Ashley

There you have it, four commando’s helping people with their 220px-DeadlyManeuvers problems based out of LA. The 4 commandos all had a code name and their own little niche. The leader of the group Lieutenant Colonel was John “Hannibal” Smith whose plans tend to be unorthodox but effective. Lieutenant Templeton Peck know as “Face” or “Faceman” is a smooth talking con man who serves as the team’s appropriator of vehicles and other useful items, as well as the second in command. The team’s pilot is Captain H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock, who has been declared insane and lives in a Veterans Administration mental institution. Last but not least is the guy in my opinion who made the show, Sergeant First Class Bosco Albert “B.A.” or “Bad Attitude” Baracus, he was the strong man of the group.

During their adventures The A-team were constantly met by opposition from the Military Police. I think The A-Team wrecked more than they needed to but hey that makes for great television. The show had great ratings for the first 4 seasons but in season 5 the ratings dropped by 50% and that was it for our beloved A-Team. However that didn’t stop one vehicle in this show becoming iconic and that was the 1983 GMC Vendura a G-Series van. The Van was painted black on the bottom and on top of the red stripe it was a gray metallic which caused confusion with toy manufacturers painting the van wrongly. All of the GMC logos were on the van until the second season where they were all blacked out but GMC still received credit in the closing credits of the show. A few devices were in the back of the van like a Mini Printing press, and audio surveillance recording device and Hannibal’s disguise kits, not shown in all episodes.

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Some versions of the van had a sunroof but it other shots of the show it didn’t. Also when there were stunts to be had with the van the crew used other makes like a black Ford Econoline with red hubcaps to simulate the original red turbine mag wheels.

1988_GMC_VanduraThe GMC G-series van had a production run from 1964 – 1996 each year a better improvement over the last as usual. The van came standard with a 4.1 Liter L6 motor that produced 135HP. It also came with 2 different V8 motors a 5.7 Liter 190HP and 7.4 Liter 230HP. Transmission choices were a Four Speed auto or a four speed manual. Also in 1982 – 1995 the 6.2 liter diesel was an option and a later engine was the 6.5 liter V8. The Van had a good run and was a work horse for many years!

I know every week I keep saying I want one of these iconic cars but this van is something I obviously wouldn’t mind having but the only thing it would do for me is to drive it around and hum the theme music to The A-team. One thing I will say is that if I saw this baby coming down the road I would have fun looking at it and remembering all of the action The A-team had with that van.

 

Ready for summer? Stock your car with the essentials!

Daytona Beach

With summer just around the corner here is a list of a few helpful things to keep in your car. No doubt you will be running from the playground to little league practice and everywhere in between, why not be prepared for what summer might unexpectedly throw at you.

Sunscreen: We all know sunburns are painful and with skin cancer rates on the rise it’s a good idea to have a bottle of sunscreen with you at all times.

Bug Spray:  Mosquitoes can ruin the fun of an afternoon at the park in just seconds.  Keep from being made into a meal with a quick spray before you leave the car.

Towels:  Whether you end up at a backyard pool party or find a river on a hike for your kids and dog to play in you will be thankful you have a few towels in the car to dry off and protect your seats.

First aid kit:  Scrapes and bumps are an inevitable part of playing at the beach or on the playground.  A small supply of band-aids and ointment spray will ensure you will be able to play all day and not have to run home early due to a skinned knee.

A blanket:  When you find yourself cheering for the local little league team a blanket to sit on will be much better than sitting in the wet grass.

Purchase a plastic tote from the local home good store and fill it with all the above mentioned supplies for a fun and carefree summer.

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Iconic Movie Cars – The Dukes Of Hazard – 1969 Dodge Charger

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Yee-Haw! It’s a new week and that means a new Iconic movie car! This week I bring the 1969 Dodge Charger from The Dukes of Hazard to the table. The show aired on American television from 1979 to 1985 on CBS. I’m sure if you mention the General Lee to anyone of that time they will know exactly what show you are talking about. Even now most people know exactly what the General Lee is and what show it is from.

blogger1aThe Dukes of Hazard follows “The Duke Boys” on their weekly adventures. They live In a rural part of a fictional town called Hazard County and constantly ruin the dark plans of crooked county commissioner Boss Hogg. Luke and Bo duke were previously sentenced to probation for illegally transporting Uncle Jesse’s moonshine; their Uncle Jesse made a plea deal with the U.S. government to stop brewing moonshine in exchange. Although on probation this doesn’t stop the Duke boys from getting into mischief and other fun things! The one staple of the show is their 1969 Dodge Charger knows as the General Lee. The car was built was a race car so the doors are welded shut and the windows are always open. There was an estimated 309 chargers used during the filming of the show and 17 are still known to exist. The General Lee also had the iconic Dixie horns installed after a passerby had sounded the horn, the crew chased him down to find out where he had gotten he horn and then installed it into the General Lee.

In 1968 the charger was redone from its earlier brothers, it is known as the B-body lineup. This was a redesign to change what the whole body looked like and the interior didn’t share anything with its earlier models. The 1969 model had two different 383 motors available, a 2-barrel and 4-barell. The 2-barrel was rated at 290hp and the 4 was rated at 330hp this was identified as the “pie tin” on the air cleaner as “383 / FOUR BARREL”. The 330hp option was unique to the Charger model in 1969. This engine was available with an un-silenced air cleaner option. The 1969 model also had different grilles and new longitudinal taillights, both designed by Harvey J. Winn. A new trim line was introduced this year, known as the Special Specs-1969-Dodge-ChargerEdition (SE). This could be chosen alone or with the R/T option thus making it the R/T-SE. The SE added leather inserts for the front seats only, chrome rocker moldings, a wood grain steering wheel, and wood grain inserts on the instrument panel.  Total production was 89,199 units.

The 1969 Charger and General Lee were beautiful cars! I would love to have a 1969 Charger right now that I can just jump in and have a great time with! Or even a General Lee all my own, with welded doors, a Dixie horn, and me trying to jump in through the window, which would be a hilarious feat all by itself. I know whenever I see one of these on the road I always have to snap my head around to give it a good luck. Even when I attend a car show I love trying to find one to just gawk at. I mean, how many of you would love to have a 1969 charger all your own? One that you can cruise down the highway with the windows down enjoying the sound of the motor as you cruise! I give the 1969 two thumbs up for the years of service it gave the Duke boys and a moment of silence for the 309 or so cars that were destroyed during filming…………….Thank you for your years of service and entertainment 1969 Charger and General Lee!

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Should You Lease Or Buy Your Car?

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So the big question for many people looking for a new car is, should I buy or lease? It is a good question that has plagued many of us buying new cars for years. Yes you can save some money every month by leasing a car but you are paying for something that isn’t yours, it is almost like a glorified rental car that you have to pay for every month. But some people like to trade their cars in every 2-3 years so they don’t want to buy something to keep especially in the way a car depreciates in value. Luckily you have come to the right place to help you figure out if you should lease or buy that new car you are looking at on the show room floor.

I am just going to cut straight to the point and list off the pros and cons of buying and leasing. Here we go:

Advantages of leasing a car

  • Lower monthly payments
  • Lower down payment
  • You can drive a better car for less money each month.
  • You can more easily drive a new car every two or three years.
  • You pay sales tax only on the portion of the car you finance.

Disadvantages of leasing a car

  • You don’t own the car at the end of the lease.
  • Your mileage is limited to a set amount, typically 12,000-15,000 miles a year (excess miles are paid for at the lease termination).
  • Leasing is more expensive in the long run (as opposed to buying and driving until the wheels fall off).
  • Wear-and-tear charges can add up (paid at lease termination).
  • It’s costly to terminate a lease early if your driving needs change.
  • You are basically paying to rent a car.

Advantages of buying a car

  • Pride of ownership — you can modify your car as you please.
  • Car buying is more economical in the long run unless you buy and trade-in regularly.
  • No penalty for driving excess mileage
  • Increased flexibility — you can easily sell the car whenever you want.
  • If you drive the car well after you are done with your finance term it will be A LOT cheaper.
  • The monthly payments eventually end once the car is paid off.

Disadvantages of buying a car

  • Higher down payment is generally required.
  • Higher monthly payments
  • You’re responsible for maintenance costs once the warranty expires.
  • The car depreciates in value every year you own it
  • Trade in of the car wont net you as much as you hope.

So there you have it, in my own opinion I think leasing a car is a waste of money, for people who drive around clients may need to lease a car to keep it new every few years and you can have a luxury car for an affordable price. Also, usually once you start a lease you always end up leasing because it is a viscous cycle of returning and re-leasing a new ride which means you will pretty much always have a car payment. I am the type of person that likes to pay for something I can own eventually and not have to make payments anymore. I hope this helps with your car buying decisions. What are your opinions on leasing and buying? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Cars Versus Planes… Does It Really Prove Anything?

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So you want to prove how fast a car really is. Instead of pitting it against another car of equal speed and lap times, what can really prove how fast a car is? Why not put it up against a winged beast, a power house of air superiority, yeah that’s right why not put it up against a Spitfire plane or a Euro Fighter Jet? Will this actually prove how fast your vehicle is or is it just stupid? Obviously we know that most planes well actually all motorized planes will be faster than a car in a straight line but what about when you add a bit of a handicap to the run?

First off we have a video of a 2014 Range Rover sport racing a Spitfire plane. The first problem I see in this video is that the Range Rover is racing on grass, he is going to have a slower take off and I doubt he will hit max speed on this rough terrain. Now I understand that they are trying to show their car is fast off road I just think it would have been better on pavement. To say the least though the video was entertaining and was great to see an old Spitfire in working order running hard to beat that Range Rover.

Our next video brings us to one of my favorite car shows, Top gear. Richard Hammond is in a Bugatti Veyron racing a Euro Fighter Typhoon in a 2 mile race, the Euro Fighter has to go vertical for 2 miles before it can return to cross the finish line. I have to say out of the production cars that are out there the Bugatti Veyron is most likely the best bet at winning this race. But I mean come on; you’re racing a damn jet! Don’t get me wrong I love the Veyron and it is my dream car but there is no way I think any car could win this race. Good luck Richard!

What would car vs. aircraft vehicles be without a Red Bull race? This video is a race between a Porsche and a Red Bull racing plane, need I say anymore? I mean really do I have to elaborate on this anymore? I think we already know who will win this race but the video is still fun to watch. The car and plane both start at opposite ends of the run way, the car must go from one end and back again and the plane must take off and go vertical until it can’t go any more and come back to pass the plane. Watch below to see who wins this race, if you still don’t already know who wins.

After watching all of these videos I just have to ask – What does this really prove? Great, a Range Rover is a bit faster than a Spitfire, Bugatti Veyron can’t beat a Euro Fighter, and a Porsche has no business trying to race a Red Bull racing plane. Don’t get me wrong these things, I guess are entertaining to watch for some people but I had more fun just seeing the planes fly and do what they do other then caring about the race, 99.99% of the population that owns a car will not be racing a plane and this is just irrelevant information. Put these cars in races that actually have some fun value, which Top Gear does all the time. Race it against another car in its category! Personally none of us are racing our cars everyday but I just don’t see the point of racing a plane/jet that will usually just annihilate anything it goes against on the ground.What are your feelings on the matter? What do you think of these challenges? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sewage Sludge a new way to fuel your car?

A few Japanese companies are developing a way to turn  sewage sludge into reusable energy, by turning the sludge into hydrogen for use in fuel cells. Getting hydrogen from sewage is cheaper and cleaner than getting it the normal way. It can cut carbon emissions by 75% The process involves drying the sludge, the methane that is generated this way is then re heated to cook out the hydrogen gasses.

The companies that are collaborating in this process are Toyota Motor Corp. affiliate Toyota Tsusho Corp., Mitsui Chemicals Inc., Daiwa Lease Co. and Japan Blue Energy Co.  Toyota and Honda are planning on making new fuel cell vehicles in the future. Hopefully if these vehicles start being produced it can be a great way to reduce emissions in the U.S. The way to get hydrogen now is a very complicated and expensive process. If this new way works out, it will be a break through on getting the hydrogen gas.

What are your thoughts on this process of recycling waste into hydrogen gas? Do you think it will be a viable fuel source?

On star opens their API for third party mobile app developers.

On star is opening their API for app developers. This is a big step in helping to keep On stars customer base. I believe this is an excellent move on their part, it will open a whole new world for car and mobile phone communications. This will be another reason to keep your monthly on star service plan. I actually can’t wait to see what apps they will create for it and the integration it will have with your vehicle. I’m sure we can agree on the normal apps for it like locking your doors and un-locking them and starting the car. But I wonder what kind of odd and wacky apps they can come up with. Maybe one that can track your mileage and hours you drive weekly or daily. Maybe playing angry birds on your navigation screen, while parked of course! So It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this but I can’t wait to see what developers will come up with!