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Why do petrol engines scare me so much?


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#1 OFFLINE   Roverageous

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:36 PM

Really odd one this, that has blighted my motoring years so far. Before going any further I've never had an engine failure or any that really exhibited signs of anything sinister.

 

I have had an issue with all my petrol cars where I obsess over how they sound. Every cold start, every time at traffic lights, every time I give them bootfull... I always hear something that worries me then I obsess over that for ages and ages and ages. This is not something that affects me with the diesel cars I've had. Perhaps because they're already much rougher than petrols & their nature hides any other unusual noises.

 

My father is the same, although I don't think he obsessed over it to the extent I do. Both he and I have been able to hear difference that others can't, which he attributes to us both being musicians with perfect pitch - I don't know whether that's an influencing factor or not.

 

Anyone else like this? How do you get over it and enjoy the car?

 

(And yes, I do realise the responses I'm likely to get as I primarily am known for Roverfetishism!)



#2 OFFLINE   Tamworthbay

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:38 PM

Right foot down, stop being a wuss and fuck it wcpgw?
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#3 OFFLINE   Roverageous

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:39 PM

Right foot down, stop being a wuss and fuck it wcpgw?

 

Well exactly. Invariably (so far!) nothing goes wrong. What's the secret to 'getting over it'?



#4 OFFLINE   Tamworthbay

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:45 PM

Well exactly. Invariably (so far!) nothing goes wrong. What's the secret to 'getting over it'?


Drive so fast that you only hear the wind noise ;-)

#5 OFFLINE   scaryoldcortina

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:30 PM

I'm a musician with perfect pitch and also a professional motor mechanic. You learn what noises you can ignore and which ones are likely to be serious.

Or, drive an MG with the stereo up loud and the top down and worry about it when it blows up.
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#6 OFFLINE   eddyramrod

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:45 PM

What's the secret to 'getting over it'?

Drive a proper American V8.  In an appropriate manner, with windows down!  You won't need a stereo, let me tell you!


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#7 OFFLINE   EssDeeWon

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:06 PM

What sort of noises are you hearing?

 

I am the opposite and wouldn't / never have owned a diesel because of the awful engine noise.

 

My KV6 is super quiet, even standing over it with the bonnet open you can only hear the belts going round but no real engine noise to speak of at tick over. Even my dad who is ultra fussy about cars cant believe how quiet the engine is on my old Rover.  But he drives a discovery diesel, I call it the tractor with leather seats.


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#8 OFFLINE   eddyramrod

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:10 PM

I am the opposite and wouldn't / never have owned a diesel because of the awful engine noise.

I am sooooooooooo with you there!  I've owned two, one of which was a commercial vehicle.  If I never own another it'll be too soon.


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#9 OFFLINE   dollywobbler

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:18 PM

Transistorised ignition and fuel injection (or really good carbs, sadly not common) transform the petrol engine car. I thought I was a diesel fan, but increasingly not.
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#10 OFFLINE   AMC Rebel

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:33 PM

My KV6 also sounds great - although I don't have perfect pitch - I can tell when something (musical) is out of tune, but I couldn't tune a guitar without a reference.

 

I agree with Eddie about soft top V8s too, my AMC has never had a stereo in the 11 years I've owned it.

 

I suspect it's very much dependent on the car though - my A3 (1.6 FSI pez) always sounded (and drove) like a wheezy bag of nails, and a bloke who lived near me had a BMW M3 that sounded like a skeleton having a wank in a biscuit tin.

 

The V6 dizzler in my X350 Jag was just quiet, smooth and un-V6 like in sound - the same basic engine (but minus one turbo, the active engine mounts and soundproofing) in my Disco sounds gruff and un-V6 like.

 

As for the 200 TDi in the Pumpkin - that sounds like a tough noisy old boat anchor - which it is.

 

Oddly enough, I notice more variation in noises on diesel engines especially more modern ones - quite often there seems to be a random increase in diesel knock.  


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#11 OFFLINE   Station

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:49 PM

I've never been a fan of diesels either, but you can't help love the mpg and ridiculous but very short power band.
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#12 OFFLINE   saucedoctor

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:53 PM

I'm a competent* musician and not bad on the spanners. I am however tone deaf. As you were chaps.

​BTW Check out Scary's YouTube videos, he really is awfully good.


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#13 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 11:09 PM

I am also a musician (of sorts) and have perfect pitch, but I don't find it makes me any more or less sensitive to unusual engine noises.  The only effect I've noticed it has when driving is that I can tell how hard I'm revving the engine without a rev counter.

 

I do usually go through a stage shortly after I've bought a car of noticing all sorts of noises which weren't there before, but a lot of the time it's just me being paranoid after the first flush of excitement of the new purchase has worn off, but before I know the car well enough to know what I can safely ignore and what I can't.  Usually during that phase I just crank the choonz up a bit so I can't hear anything else.



#14 OFFLINE   sierraman

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 11:10 PM

You obviously have a much too quiet stereo. If I picked up on every quirk or noise my Mondeo Diesel made I'd be suicidal.
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#15 OFFLINE   chodweaver

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 11:28 PM

Try to find out what it is and if it needs it, fix it?

 

I have never been able to put up with the stress of believing that it's shortly to go bang, or whatever is rattling is going to end up on the verge and I'll have hell's own job finding another one, never mind what it'll cost.

The effort is usually worth it - as I end up knowing my way around the engine quite well, fixing anything I find that is wrong, on the way to pinning down the noise and having more confidence in its ability to start and finish the journey. This does however mean that my ownership of any given car is usually measured in years, rather than months, and they're all high milers by the time I've done with them. And my wife considers herself to be a garage widow.

 

All the cars that were exclusively 'hers' rather than shared, have been moderns. Most of them she was glad to see the back of, but she doesn't tend to bond with cars - they're a tool to do a job. If they fail in any respect, they're a PITA.

 

Most of the cars I've had in the last 13 years have been last century - one of the exceptions is still here, doings its duty and possibly hoping to earn my respect as another 'old faithful' (when it's old enough and has been to the moon); the other is with The Moog.

 

I do know I'm strange.

 

ETA I struggle to fault find with dizzlers. There's so much and so many bloody noises coming out of the things when they're running ok, how am I supposed to know which one is the death knell? As Station said, if it wasn't for prodigious torque, entertaining turbos and lots of mpg, I wouldn't bother with 'em either.



#16 OFFLINE   gordonbennet

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:15 AM

Good sensitive hearing is your ally for long trouble free vehicle life, i too am always listening for sounds that shouldn't be there, that applies to all of our cars and to the lorries i drive too, and not just for engine/drivetrain sound either, the noise and feel coming from the road surface through the steering the seat of your pants and through your ears, tells you a hell of a lot about whats going on and how much grip you have at any moment.

 

With Diesels i'm listening for the turbo spooling up.

 

Anyone not immediately notice how your engine is always quieter following an oil change, or if you've bought shit oil how soon after the change it's noisy again.


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#17 OFFLINE   Captain Furious

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:24 AM

I used to be super sensitive to gear changes, 'that felt a bit notchy, gearbox must be about to explode' of course there was never anything wrong with them, except my first car, a mk2 Fiesta that went through 4 gearboxes...possibly where the obsession came from. I tend to buy automatics these days.

Incidentally, if anyone ever needs the gearbox changing in a mk2 fiesta I'm your man.
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#18 OFFLINE   Joloke

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:38 AM

Drive a proper American V8.  In an appropriate manner, with windows down!  You won't need a stereo, let me tell you!

I agree Eddy my stereo is broke its the volume busted but its not bothering me LOL!

I have my own volume pedal in the footwell ;)

 


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#19 OFFLINE   Joloke

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:50 AM

In my driving history I have gone from Petrol to Diesel and now heading back towards petrol again! I have a VW Diseasel on lease as my daily but I doubt I will ever have a diesel again. They seem to have gone full circle they were very chuggy very tractor like then became very polished almost petrol like now they seem to be going all agricultural again!

Besides whether we like it or not parliament seem hell bent on ridding our streets of diesels and one day those immortal words in the type of fuel box on the V5 "Heavy Oil" may just become a thing of the past?

Also as time goes on the gap between petrol and diesel economy figures seems to be closing.

I will however miss that hill climbing torque that diesels offer but that's about it.



#20 OFFLINE   xtriple

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:18 AM

Wouldn't have diesel if you paid me, the noise offends my delicate lug'oles! Hate the sods with a passion. However, petrol engines are my one true love and like the OP, I listen to them constantly for the slightest change in volume or scale and I worry constantly about every murmur the cars make!

 

I have become so bad that I park the dollop in the garage, get out and walk to the radiator grille so I can listen to it while it's idling... just in case you understand.


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#21 OFFLINE   paulplom

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:22 AM

If I hear something odd, I just turn the radio up.

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#22 ONLINE   LessThanEqual

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:30 AM

If I hear something odd, I just turn the radio up.

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I did that once, until the car became almost undriveable. Turns out all 5 wheel bolts manage to wiggle loose on nearside front wheel, and by the time I pulled over I was down to 2 barely holding on for their life.


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#23 OFFLINE   dieselnutjob

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:55 AM

Mechanical sympathy is a good thing.

 

If my cars start making odd noises I will stop and figure out what the problem is and as a result I tend to get get my cars to run 15 years and 200,000 miles plus without major failures.


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#24 OFFLINE   cros

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:17 AM

What the engine runs on has less bearing on its characteristics than the design. The petrol 2.5 4 cylinder in my P4 is way better at pulling from low revs than the 2.5 TDI in my previous P4 but is much less powerful overall. On LPG it costs about the same to run as the diesel, but is more pleasant to sit behind.
If points are set right you'll be unable to tell the difference between them and electronic on most cooking engines. Points very rarely fail suddenly, electronic almost always does. If I wanted modern levels of power I wouldn't consider pissing about with the above old crap, but equally it can be extremely reliable if your expectations are in line with its capabilities.
Several posts lately have cast nasturtiums on carbs without justification. Hard shoulders weren't particularly littered with broken cars before fuel injection came along. Oddly, the removal of hard shoulders hasn't stopped cars breaking down either.
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#25 OFFLINE   chodweaver

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:00 AM

I should add the main reason I got any of my vehicles to moonshot mileages is not necessarily because of good maintenance - more of dogged determination to fix what's wrong and then 'get the use out of it' that I think it owes me. This of course does not make economic sense and also drives Mrs CW up the wall. I do however believe it to be the greenest thing I can do, bar giving up driving and hence work altogether and living on an allotment...

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#26 OFFLINE   forddeliveryboy

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:01 AM

'Petrol' engines are only so numerous because petrol is what you get most of when cracking a barrel of crude - they're gas engines in reality, modified to run petrol. Which is a nasty fuel - dirty burning, prone to combustion chamber pre-ignition, with a limited shelf life and very keen to vapourise - we only get away with few accidents because its vapour is particularly and peculiarly fussy over its air-fuel ratio before BOOM!

As cros says, whether an engine is any good is more down to its layout than the fuel variety, and also whether or not it suits the application. But as much as I love good reciprocating internal combustion engines, there's sound reason why they're known as infernal rather than internal in some engineering and steam communities. Noisy, full of vibrations and with filthy exhausts - but by a quirk of history the last century was theirs. It's testimony to Man's engineering skills they grew so relatively refined and pleasant to use. I'd say they've had their golden years, from here on they'll be increasingly subservient to the silent, vibration-free and full-torque-at-zero-revs electric motor and of as little interest as a caravan generator pack (aren't they nearly there?).

If you've some mechanical understanding, a decent ear and tune it in to a well-known machine you'll hear when the engine's (and exhaust's) dull and needing an Italian right foot or timing up, when the oil's cheap or tired, when the mixture's a tad lean and tetchy for colder, dense air as well as the pluminess of a slightly rich-than-stoich jet. It's one of the miseries of many moderns, they're a dirt cheap design made to a high standard and controlled by a microchip, with little room for user brain engagement other than stringing a set of awkward bends together well, and avoiding lurking fines. I'm pleased I grew up with the last gasp of cars which needed mechanical adjusting for optimum results, pleased that I don't need to hear max revs to be charmed by a set of pistons and valves sucking and blowing.
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#27 OFFLINE   forddeliveryboy

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:01 PM

Just read the bit about musicians and perfect pitch in the OP and wonder what noises you're hearing, Roverageous? I'm involved with the performance of a fair bit of classical music and tend to hear things many don't when in a car, it's surprising how much clatter power steering pumps and other ancilliaries can make, especially when they and their belts and tensioners (and pumped oil) are getting tired.

Plenty of engines exist with extraneous noises from slightly worn internals caused by low oil and infrequent changes, but the use of oil which is on the thin side probably creates most unnecessary din and vibration. I could feel and hear the crank turning in the V70 I found for my parents a couple of years ago, it felt like it was running 0w30 but in reality was probably a cheap 5w30 or 40 as recommended by the motor factor.

When those Audi 5 pot TDis appeared, 10w40 would have been the thinnest suggested, since then manufacturers have concentrated on emissions so recommend the lowest drag oil they can get away with and have no concern at all for any failures in higher mileage engines.

Similarly cheapo engine oil can soon allow a lot of extra noise - there's usually one make and viscosity which best suits any individual engine. I'm not saying pour in 20w60 to shut up a noisy one, that'd cause more problems with cold wear and excess consumption, but a good oil can make a huge difference.


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#28 OFFLINE   Hooli

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:54 PM

Similarly cheapo engine oil can soon allow a lot of extra noise - there's usually one make and viscosity which best suits any individual engine. I'm not saying pour in 20w60 to shut up a noisy one, that'd cause more problems with cold wear and excess consumption, but a good oil can make a huge difference.

 

Very true.

 

My GSX14 sounds like a bag of nails & has a horrible gearbox on most oils except halfrauds own bike oil. Has done ever since I got it too & every oil I've tried is the right spec & 10w40.



#29 OFFLINE   forddeliveryboy

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:42 PM

Halfrauds in quality goods shocker, whatever next?!


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#30 OFFLINE   Bobthebeard

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:56 PM

I am also a tad wierd about noises.... And smells....Dislike diesels generally because noisy and smelly. Am a fan of V6 and V8 petrol engines though, hence my vehicles of choice. The Saab is an inline 4, but smooth and loveable. Any odd noises freak me out TBH. As do random smells when driving. A nearby skip fire recently had me on the hard shoulder with the bonnet up sniffing frantically!
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