Technobabble Column


technobabble monkeypower

Technobabble - Redefining Monkeypower

by Dave Coleman


Automotive terms and definitions have a long history of being stupid and arbitrary, and I have no intention of changing that, but if we’re going to be stupid, let’s at least use monkeys.


 Technobabble garden sprayer wins twice!


Technobabble: The Garden Sprayer That Won 2 Championships

By Dave Coleman

That free garden sprayer still travels with me to every race, and topping off the coolant with it is a standard part of every Eyesore Racing pit stop. The procedure is simple. Just pump it up to 20 or 25 psi before the stop, then plug it into the radiator hose when the car arrives and open the valve. The 20-psi water in the bottle flows into the 12-psi cooling system, blowing the relief valve on the radiator cap.




Nurburgring sign

Technobabble - A Practical Guide to the Nurburgring

by Dave Coleman

A few months ago, Kojima told you what its like to do the Nurburgring like a rock star. Now I'm gonna tell you what its like without the helicopters, the luxury suites, and the long nights of trackside debauchery. This is how you pay your own way.




Technobabble: Help Us Help You Avoid Tetanus!Frankenmiata low compression

by Dave Coleman



Museum Autovision Rotary nerd heaven

Technobabble - Rotard Heaven

by Dave Coleman

For about a decade, the rotary engine looked ready to take over the world. Dozens of companies were developing the powerplants in an effort to exorcise the rotary's demons and realize the potential of its simple concept and compact proportions. Almost all of them failed, and the whole exercise was relegated to a historical footnote.

Here, in a small museum about an hour south of Frankfurt, is a glimpse into just how big and complex that footnote should be.







Technobabble lead

Technobabble: Irvine Syndrome

by Dave Coleman

How the Irvine company, the Emperor of Japan, and your bumpstop-thumping street machine blew up my girlfriend’s Sil80.


Technobabble electric cars and turbos, how MIT will save the world lead

Technobabble: Electric Cars & Turbos (How MIT is Going to Save the World)

by Dave Coleman

Electric cars are commuting appliances. With limited range and excruciating re-charge times, they are good for little more than your soul-crushing drive to and from work. Sure, commuting to work may be all you ever do, but that's not the point. You want to imagine that you'll actually decide to go somewhere fun, and gasoline enables this fantasy life. But in MIT's magical fantasy world (which they say they can deliver in less than 5 years), electric cars can do that too. Drive 100 miles, stop, plug in, take a leak, and keep going.

Not enough to get you excited? Try this: How about a turbocharged engine that runs on 87 octane swill, has 13:1 compression, and runs 20 psi of boost. The merry nerds from Massachusetts are working on that, too. It's almost enough to make you want to go to school. Almost...


Technobabble: How to Fix a Headgasket with a Garden Sprayer

by Dave Coleman

In August, when the car first started mysteriously losing coolant and fouling spark plugs, I had a rally coming up. I only had two months, at that point to get it done. By the book hours most repair shops use to charge labor, 2 months is plenty of time. But if I changed the headgasket, I'd have to pull the cams to get to the head bolts, remove the front cover, pull the head, see what was warped and fix it, clean things off, and put everything back together in the right order. I'd have to actually get a service manual. And find my torque wrench. And clean my workbench.


Technobabble: Your Mamma Can't Drive...

By Dave Coleman

The epidemic of bad driving in America starts with your mom, or whomever it was who napped through the critical job of teaching you how to drive. I've been shocked by the kinds of people I catch downshifting with a lurching clutch drag. Hard-core car enthusiasts, drag racers, auto executives, automotive journalists… the guilty are all around us.


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