A Reminder of How Nice it Will Be Not To Have to Mess With Internal Combustion Engines

A Reminder of How Nice it Will Be Not To Have to Mess With Internal Combustion Engines

My neighbor's Chevy Silverado pickup truck is parked along the side of his house and has not moved for weeks. It's running crappy. He replaced a sensor and for a while the truck ran fine. But only for a while. The man is Mexican and speaks broken English so I'm not sure what sensor he is referring to. Something that monitors and adjusts air flow, and somehow its getting clogged by dirty fuel (??) or otherwise just breaks, and the engine runs too rich. The problem started after running out of gas and adding gas from a can that may have had old gasoline in it.

Trying to help, I go online and poke around for known issues with 2006 Silverado fuel systems. What I find is a long list of possible causes, a sea of acronyms such as MAF, FLS, PCM, EFI, and forum postings by guys who spent up to $1,000 swapping out components to try and make their internal combustion engines run properly.

Most of the wailing and gnashing of teeth stems from issues relating to smog controls. That's what all those sensors are there for. They are trying to mitigate the pollutants coming from the tailpipe. The pollutants still come out, but there's fewer of them if the sensors are working.

Of course we all know that. But just getting a glimpse of my neighbor's problem, and why he is just parking the vehicle in lieu of shelling out the bucks to diagnose the issue, reminds me once again of the incredible simplicity of the electric motor. I'm sure that Martha Stewart considers electric motors in cars a "good thing". Not that anyone would care what Martha thinks about anything these days.

But along with all the collective truisms of western culture that in fact are true... like these:

Don't step on Superman's cape.
No good deed goes unpunished.
Charlie Don't Surf.
An apple a day....
Opposites attract.

... we might want to add this one:

Electric motors don't pollute

ColoDriver | 3 mars 2017

Another good reason not to miss the internal combustion engine: When it becomes an EXTERNAL combustion engine.
MB to recall over 1 million vehicles

El Mirio | 3 mars 2017

I had same issue with air flow meter on my golf, busted out the $1000+ to pass inspection, sure enough it broke down again shortly thereafter. Mechanic and almighty internet said not to waste time and money, these seem break all the time specially in humid climates. These sensors sure seems like a band aid solution to pollution.

KP in NPT | 3 mars 2017

I just had to replace the entire exhaust system on the ICE we're getting rid of for the Model 3. That sucked.

Carl Thompson | 3 mars 2017

Yes, there's a a lot that can wrong with an ICE engine. But in fairness EVs can have problems too. I'm on my 3rd EV now and one of my previous EVs (a Coda) had more reliability problems than any other car I've owed even though it never got over 25k miles. Tesla's have had their share of (minor) problems too. And there simply isn't a lot of data out there about how EVs do when their as old as your neighbors truck or when they have as many miles as I assume it does.


Frank99 | 3 mars 2017

Agreed, Carl.

I think the eternal optimists here believe that EVs have already reached the level of maturity of ICEs. When EVs get their, their vastly simpler design should mean vastly fewer drivetrain related issues than an ICE. But I don't think anyone can point to an EV today that has demonstrated the reliability advantages - maybe the electric half of the PRIUS?

Red Sage ca us | 3 mars 2017

Internal Combustion Engines are amazing. It literally astounds me the amount of engineering expertise that goes into turning a volatile liquid into flame and fire thousands of times per minute using tiny pressurized explosions without rattling to pieces, bursting into flames, expelling noxious gases into the cabin, having the whole hunk of heat generating mass melt everything in and around it, or simply blasting itself to bits in one massive, singular explosion every time you switch one on. The constant expansion and contraction of gases and metals and seals and gaskets in even the simplest of these represent the epitome of stress and the extreme of conditions. It is truly amazing that any ICE is able to operate even twice in a row. A true friggin' miracle. Hence, why so many are known to pray their vehicles to life in desperate situations. My buddies put forth the theory that all Jaguar automobiles are magic powered.

noleaf4me | 3 mars 2017

So far, the only thing I have done to my 3 1/2 year old leaf is plug it in......well it did need tires and a windshield and some body work when an illegal backed into us (uninsured of course) so no real maintenance so far.

Coastal Cruiser. | 3 mars 2017

Pop Quiz: We pinned down what my neighbors issue was today. To show me the issue he backed the truck up several yards and slightly down a hill. Pulling forward, in drive, the truck barely creeped ahead. Shifting to low and flooring it the truck gained more power and returned to the starting point. The engine RPMs were high as the truck came forward.

So.... what was the problem?

Hint #1: it had nothing to do with the fuel or any emission sensor

Red Sage ca us | 3 mars 2017

Frank99: I could write a lengthy rebuttal, but not this time... Instead? I present Jay Leno and the Baker Electric...

[ YouTube -- CRwEXaHTwsY ]
[ YouTube -- BRBLFzarbIY ]
[ YouTube -- OhnjMdzGusc ]

mntlvr23 | 3 mars 2017

CC -
The "D" didn't mean "drive" - since the truck was from Mexico and everything in the cars is written in Spanish - the "D" stood for "Despacio" (which means: slowly, slow, gently, inchmeal)
(also - the emergency brake was on and the road was covered with motor oil that had leaked from the truck)

Coastal Cruiser. | 3 mars 2017

You guessed! You win a Tesla hat. Collect from the guy running the Model 3 countdown.

mntlvr23 | 3 mars 2017

hot damn !!! I am giving it to myself now - and will get to wear it for 23 more weeks (and then will have to give it a good wash)