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Smoothing engines with torque reserves

Normally, the term “torque reserve” brings up visions of the Dodge Demon’s 808-horsepower, drag-race-focused powertrain and its various tricks. But torque reserve can also be used to make ordinary cars, using two-stage valve lift (normal and high performance), smoother.

The reason for having a low-valve-lift mode is to increase efficiency, by reducing pumping losses.  The high-lift mode increases the valves’ ability to move a lot of air quickly,

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Toluca survived

Mexico City has been hit with a magnitude 7.1 earthquake — a severe quake which has killed at least 200 people, and would have been far more devastating if Mexico had not imposed strict regulations on new buildings (unfortunately, ignored by many builders) after the last major event.

FCA’s nearby plant in Toluca, Mexico, has apparently survived the quake with little damage; a spokesman told Allpar that the factory is running today,

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Durango, Pacifica recalls

2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans

FCA US is recalling a very small number of 2017 Dodge Durangos because the rear axle half-shafts are too short; the fix is to replace both half-shafts, to avoid losing power unexpectedly.  The issue is a single pallet of parts built incorrectly at the supplier.

The recall seems to cover just eight rear-wheel-drive Durangos, four of which have been caught already; all were made between May 25 and June 2.

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Passed: Father of Road Runner

John L. Smith, usually known as Jack Smith — or as the “Father of the Road Runner,” passed away on Friday at the age of 94, according to his wife, Laverne.

While he had many accomplishments, Smith was mainly known for the low-budget, high-performance Plymouth with cartoon emblems. That story began shortly after 1965, when he led Plymouth’s new office for mid-sized car planning. The first effort was the Plymouth GTX,

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Chrysler sponsoring PTA, donating for test drives

Chrysler (the brand) has become a Proud National Sponsor of National PTA, the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy association. As part of this, Chrysler is starting a “Cars 4 Classroom” fundraising program.

PTAs and schools can set up test-drive fundraising events with the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, including the hybrid version; Chrysler will donate $10 to the school for everyone who takes a brief test drive.

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Compass aces NCAP

In the United States, there are two major safety ratings: IIHS, the insurance industry’s standard, and NHTSA, the government standard. In Europe, though, NCAP tests, conducted by an independent group, dominate.

The 2017 NCAP tests place a greater margin on active safety features which prevent crashes. The 2017 Jeep Compass, having everything FCA could throw at it (either standard or optional), gained the top rating — five stars — in the latest test.

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Long-term Hellcat: Ceramic coating

After getting my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat through the break-in period, so I can freely exercise all 707 horsepower, the next key project was protecting the beautiful Go Mango exterior paint. For this, I turned to Eric Emery of Details Auto Detailing of Manton, Michigan. Details provides a range of services, but I was most interested in having some paint correction done before ceramic coating the car.

Read the full story: Long-term Hellcat: Ceramic coating  »

Dodge Demon

2018 Wrangler JL

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