Tag Archives: Front Wheel Drive

Mazda Speed3

VEHICLE: 4-dr., 5-pass. Hatchback, FWD

ENGINE: 2.3.OL I4 DOHC Turbo HP (@ RPM): 263@5500

TORQUE @ RPM: 280@3000 TRANS 6M

FUEL CONSUMPTION (L/100 km): CITY: 11.8 HWY: 7.6 FUEL GRADE: Prem TANK (L) 55

TIRES: 215/45R18

SPECIFICATIONS (mm): WB: 2639 L: 4491 W: 1765 H: 1466 CURB WEIGHT (kg): 1439

Ah, power. It corrupts absolutely, right? Well, not in the case of this car. Usually in front-wheel-drive cars, more than 260 horsepower is too much to handle. Check this out . Not here. And really, who doesn’t like driving a sleeper “wagon” that will do 240 km/h without breaking a sweat?

AMC: Recall History

1980: half shaft assembly on either side of the front-wheel-drive mechanism could develop a fracture near inboard attachment point.

1982: fluid in 4- and 5-speed manual transmissions was replaced because the fluid was too thin and could result in damage to the transmission.

AMC Gremlin 1976-78

Hastily conceived, cleverly contrived subcompact cut-down of the compact Hornet, introduced for the 1970 model year. Wheelbase a foot shorter, leaving only token rear seat room. Heavier and less economical than competitors, and plagued by persistent durability gremlins over the years. Sturdy drivetrains (still in production), ease of repair (simple engineering), and low secondhand prices are plus points. Drawbacks include mechanical noise, choppy ride, and mediocre equipment and finish. Beware of models with flashy “X” package and small V-8; these were popular with the high-school crowd, and may have had a hard life. Also avoid 2.0-liter four borrowed from VW/Audi for 1977-78; it’s not much more economical check Waverley Auto Mall Dealers and delivers anemic pickup. Has too many shortcomings, to be an attractive buy, even at the price. We prefer the Spirit, its upgraded successor.

Recall History

1976: possibility power steering hose routed too close to exhaust manifold.

Automotive Encyclopedia

In an attempt to absorb some of the natural vibration created by the drive line, Ford introduced a “tuned dynamic absorber” as standard equipment on lighter vehicles. This absorber consisted of a7 lb. weight suspended by a beam below the front universal joint. The beam was attached to the rear of the transmission extension housing and is engineered to an exact length so that the weight oscillates at the natural frequency of the drive line.

More recently, Chrysler took a different design approach, building into the drive shaft an “internal vibration absorber,” Fig. 46-12. This unit obtains the same basic effect as the Ford “absorber.” It absorbs the natural vibrations created by the fluctuation in speed of the drive shaft.

This fluctuation of speed is further emphasized in the design of driving axles. In the case of front wheel drive vehicles, the universal joint, or joints, used in the driving axle assemblies must transfer driving power to the front wheels and, at the same time, compensate for steering action on turns.

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Pro: Clear gauges and instruments. User-friendly controls and instrumentation. Excellent driving position. Very comfortable, sporty front seating. Redesigned front seat bases provide more rear footroom. Easy entry and exit. Large trunk on sedans, and versatile hatchback design. Relatively quiet interior. Excellent visibility.

Con: Conservative styling. Tacky imitation velour seat covering. The rear seat is not very comfortable and provides poor thigh support. Limited ventilation. Poor insulation leading to excessive interior noise. The dash has been reworked, but it still needs improving. Rear seat access is limited.

Technical Data:

Dimensions (sedan)

Length: 184.8 in.

Width: 67.7 in.

Wheelbase: 107.1 in.

Weight: 2923 lbs.

Towing: 1000 lbs.


Front-wheel drive

Engine: 2.2L 16-valve 4 (125 hp)

EX-R(140 hp)


Standard: 5-speed manual

Option: 4-speed automatic

Fuel economy:

2.2L & 5-speed man.:

9.9L/100 km

2.2L & 4-speed auto.:

10.8L/100 km

2.2L & 4-speed auto.:

11.4L/100 km

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Used Car Dealers

Detailed Inspection

If the vehicle in question has passed your “five-minute” inspection and performed well during the road test, you are now back at the dealership or private party location and you’re still interested enough to continue the examination. This time the inspection is going to be a little more thorough. You are now looking both for signs that indicate potential problems, as well as accumulating “points”.

Points, for lack of a better term, are strikes against the vehicle. None of these points by themselves would be big enough factor to keep you from purchasing the car, but added together and written in your notebook, can be used in your negotiation with the seller to adjust the price. The seller can choose to either have these points fixed or knock down the price (unless it was spectacularly low). He can bring the condition up to the point where you would be willing to pay the asking price, or if he isn’t willing to deal with repairs, these points should add up to a reduction in the price, based on some ballpark estimate of what the potential repairs could cost (call a trusted shop for estimates).

For instance, if you find a small amount of brake fluid seepage around the brake master cylinder where it is mounted on the firewall (you can tell it’s brake fluid that’s leaking because it will wrinkle the paint on the firewall), this is not uncommon. It may have been simply the result of a sloppy job of topping off the cylinder, or the master cylinder. Even in the latter case, replacement of most master cylinders is not difficult, and a new cylinder isn’t terribly expensive. The potential need for a master cylinder replacement should become a bargaining chip for you. On the other hand, seeing similar leakage around the power steering lines of a power rack-and-pinion steering unit (such as is found on most front-wheel-drive cars) could be much more serious. The lines can be expensive to buy and to install if you’re going to have to buy and to install if you’re going to have your mechanic do the work, and if the rack-and-pinion itself is leaking, this is a serious repair that could cost $500 or more. If you spot a leak in this area, this is not a bargaining chip, it’s a reason to pass up this particular vehicle.

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Premium Used Cars

Detailed Inspection

Examine the engine’s exhaust manifold(s) for signs of cracks, leaks or stains. Stains could be from continual oil drips from a leaky valve cover gasket or other component, and cracks or blown-out exhaust gaskets could create dangerous exhaust-gas leaks. You can listen for sounds of an exhaust leak when the engine is running, or look for gray, white or black streaks on the cast-iron exhaust manifold. The streaks should lead you right to the crack or leaky gasket.

Brackets and adjusters for the various belt-driven engine accessories should be examined for any looseness, missing bolts, or cracks. Broken or loose brackets can cause accessories like the fan, power steering pump, water pump, alternator and air-conditioning compressor to not only lose belts but even fail before their time due to running misaligned.

If the vehicle you are examining is a front-wheel-drive car, then pay close attention to the boots on the CV (constant-velocity) joints. Most cars have an inner and outer CV joint on each side of the vehicle (left and right driveaxles), each of which is covered by a rubber boot. The CV joints are expensive to replace, and are packed with grease, and the rubber boots protect them from dirt, corrosion and moisture. Check the boots by hand by flexing or squeezing them to look for cracks or tears. A torn CV boot that has all of the grease from inside is a signal that the joints will need replacement shortly due to the invasion of dirt and moisture. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, you may be able to check the CV boots from the engine compartment, otherwise, check what you can from above and do other CV joints from underneath the vehicle.

If you’re looking at a private-party car that hasn’t been detailed, the condition of the car’s battery may indicate what kind of maintenance the vehicle has been accustomed to. Often motorists pay no attention to a battery until the day it malfunctions and the vehicle is stranded somewhere. First look at the condition of the battery terminals and posts. Are they clean of covered with fuzzy corrosion?

  • If you see dark color when you drop some  of the brake fluid on a white card, the fluid is old and/or contaminated and should be replaced.
  • Many newer vehicles with manual transmissions have a hydraulic clutch system – its master cylinder (arrow) should be near the brake master cylinder
  • If from the engine compartment you can access any of the drive axle boots on a front-wheel drive car, do so while checking the engine, otherwise do it during your under-car checks or ask your mechanic to check them.
  • This situation on a battery post is a sign of maintenance neglect – an owner who routinely had the hood open for servicing and checking would have found and fixed this corrosion before it got this far.

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Coupe and Convertible

Body styles: 2-door convertible . 2-door sedan . 4-door sedan

Engines: 2.5L 4-cylinder . 3.0L V6

Transmissions: 5-speed manual . 3-speed automatic . 4-speed automatic/front-wheel drive

Fuel consumption: 1993 LeBaron convertible: 2.5L 4-cylinder with 3-speed automatic: 10.7 L/100km (26 mpg) . 3.0L V6 with 5-speed manual: 12.4L/100km (23 mpg); with 4-speed automatic: 10.5L/100km (27mpg) . 3.0L V6 with 3-speed automatic: 11.1L/100km (25 mpg)

The LeBaron name stems from the New York custom coach-building firm founded in 1920 and purchased by Chrysler in the late 1940s. The name was appended to so many disparate vehicles that the public became confused as to what a LeBaron was, and it was eventually withdrawn.

The LeBaron that emerged in 1987 spawned an attractive convertible that was produced until 1995, two years after the coupe had been retired. The LeBaron coupe was replaced by the Sebring coupe in 1995, and the convertible LeBaron was superseded by the Sebring convertible in 1996.

The LeBaron coupe and convertible could be propelled by a 100-hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine or a 3.0L V6 with 141 horsepower. Transmissions offered for 1993 and 1994 included a five-speed manual and three-or four-speed automatics. In 1993 the V6 LeBaron two-door models were offered with either a five-speed manual transmission or an automatic with four speeds. The 2.5L four-cylinder engine was available only with a three-speed automatic in 1993. Convertibles sold in 1994 and 1995 were delivered exclusively with the V6.

The LeBaron two-door was a very attractive car that was updated skillfully and whose lines aged well. The interior of the two-door is pleasantly styled and upholstered in attractive fabrics or leather. The seats are comfortable and there is sufficient room in the car for four adults, but those in the front will be happier. The rear passenger quarters can become claustrophobic because of the wide C-pillar of both coupe and convertible. A few examples of late LeBaron convertibles can still be found in good condition, and they provide a cheap entry into the world of top-down motoring. If you have the money, early examples of the chic Sebring convertible are worth the extra dollars.

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Chrysler Sebring (2001-2002)

Rating: Not Rated

Body styles: 4-door sedan . 2-door convertible . 2-door coupe (2001 only)

Engines: 2.4L 4-cylinder . 2.7L V6

Transmissions: 4-speed automatic . 4-speed automatic with Auto Stick . 5-speed manual/front-wheel drive

Fuel Consumption: 2001 model: 2.4L 4-cylinder with 4-speed automatic: 11.7L/100 km (24 mpg); 2.7L V6 with 4-speed Auto Stick automatic: 11.8L/100 km (24 mpg)

When Chrysler renewed its mid-size line in 2001, the sedan adopted the Sebring name already used on the coupe and convertible. The coupe sold poorly in Canada and was withdrawn after 2001.

Two Chrysler engines, the 150-hp 2.4L  twin-cam four seen in the PT Cruiser and the 200-hp 2.7L twin-cam V6 introduced on the 1998 Intrepid, were offered on the sedan and convertible.

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