RockAuto May Newsletter | Early Edition
Go to the RockAuto Catalog
Four Seasons A/C Kits
See what we have from Four Seasons

To help you prepare for warmer weather, Four Seasons, a division of Standard Motor Products (SMP), is offering customers an exclusive 10% instant rebate on select A/C Compressor & Component Kits throughout the month of May! A successful A/C repair takes more than just replacing the compressor. Take the guesswork out of your repair, and rely on a complete A/C Compressor & Component Kit from Four Seasons to help keep you cool this summer!

Four Season A/C Compressor & Component Kit
Typical A/C Compressor & Component Kit

These kits conveniently contain all of the parts you need to ensure a successful repair, the first time - from the A/C Compressor to the Service Valves and Caps you may not think to check (and everything in between), Four Seasons Complete A/C Kits have you covered! While shopping, watch for the yellow "Promotion/Rebate" Star in catalog in the catalog next to the kit listings to instantly save 10% off of RockAuto's already reliably low prices. Find A/C Compressor & Component Kits in the "Heat & Air Conditioning" category of the catalog.

Forum of the Month is an online forum for discussions of the modern Dodge Challenger and all things SRT, Hellcat and Demon. From the first oil change, to detailing, to performance oriented track modifications, if you own a Challenger this forum is certainly worth a visit.

If you are the administrator or member of a forum and you would like to see your website featured in an upcoming newsletter and receive a discount code to share with your members, contact

Repair Mistakes & Blunders
Repair Mistakes & Blunders

Back in the mid-1980s, I owned a 1972 Toyota Corona wagon. The head gasket was leaking so a buddy and I decided to replace it. That was the first significant work either of us had performed on our vehicles.

We disassembled the top half of the engine, cleaned off the old head gasket material, installed the new gasket, reassembled the cylinder head and finally tightened the cylinder head bolts with a torque wrench. We were confused since it seemed that those bolts did not feel like they were tight enough. After going back and forth and not being able to figure it out, we decided to move forward with the re-assembly. Not surprisingly, when we started the engine, coolant immediately began gushing out between the cylinder head and block.

We tore the top of the engine down again and after more head scratching we finally examined the torque wrench more closely. And there was the problem in the fine print. The torque wrench was in inch lbs and not foot lbs! We made the conversion, reassembled the engine and it worked fine. We laughed about our blunder for years. We never did figure out what the extra two bolts were for though...

Chuck in New York

Tell us about your most infamous auto repair blunder or unconventional fix. Use your woe to help others avoid similar mistakes or share off-the-wall solutions that worked (at least for a while!). Please email your story to Include your mailing address and if you would like a RockAuto T-Shirt (please let us know your shirt size) or Hat if we publish your story. See the T-Shirts and Hats under Tools & Universal Parts in the RockAuto catalog. The story will be credited using only your first name and your vague geographic location (state, province, country, continent, etc.) so you can remain semi-anonymous!

Automotive Trivia
Automotive Trivia

What was the origin of the Cadillac Escalade name?

A. Escalade is the name of the rugged pass between the Monte Rosa and La Berra mountains in the Swiss Alps.

B. Escalade is a noun that means the scaling of fortified walls using ladders.

C. Escalade was the name of the ship Norwegian discoverer Roald Amundsen sailed to the North Pole in 1906.

Answer below

It's Supposed to Sound Like That
Tom's Story

I find it jarring when young people embrace things that used to be forbidden. It is double jarring when those things continue to be forbidden to me. When I was a kid, only Batman and Robin got to wear leggings. My daughter now wears leggings everywhere. I am still not allowed to even try on a pair.

This dichotomy can even apply to old and new cars. If there are audible explosions when I step on or off the gas in my 1992 Dodge B-250 van, the passengers will assume the engine is backfiring because I have not kept up with maintenance. Fuel is burning at the wrong time in the cylinders or is burning in the wrong place (exhaust, intake manifold...) and creating the noise. Something is causing the ignition timing and/or the air/fuel ratio to be incorrect.

Ignition timing determines when the spark plugs ignite the fuel. The computer might be telling the spark plugs to fire too early or too late because of bad input from a sensor (throttle position, camshaft position, crankshaft position, knock...).

The computer and its sensors might be working fine, but there may be no spark because an ignition part (spark plug, spark plug wire, ignition coil, distributor cap...) is broken or shorting out. If the timing chain or its tensioner is failing then the computer may not be able to adjust the timing enough to keep it in spec.

An incorrect air/fuel ratio may also be caused by a computer misinformed by a failing sensor in the intake (mass airflow, manifold absolute pressure...) or exhaust (oxygen). A clogged engine air filter might prevent enough air from getting in when most needed. A fuel injector might be squirting excess gasoline into the intake at the wrong times if its wiring is falling apart; shorting out or connecting to a neighboring injector's wire.

Meanwhile, nobody seems to mind that new Subaru WRXs, Ford Mustangs, etc. are driving around with exhausts that blat every time the driver stops stomping on the gas pedal. The engine manufacturers intentionally generate the cool, open-exhaust racecar sounds with tricks like delaying firing of the spark plug until the exhaust valve is slightly open so that more fun noise escapes. On some engines this surge of exhaust gas pressure might keep the turbocharger spinning so there is less turbo-lag when the driver starts pressing the gas pedal again.

Drivers of older vehicles should keep up with maintenance to avoid damaging backfires, but they also might want to hone their oratory skills just in case they need something a little classier to tell the passengers. Last weekend's "Wall Street Journal" included a review of a $100,000 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. Dan Neil wrote, "Letting the huge V8 coast down from high revs coaxes from it a snapping, splintering decrescendo, a dark and satisfying sound..." I am going to keep that on a note card in my van's ashtray just in case. "No honey, those weren't backfires that may have blown the catalytic converter's substrate apart. That was a dark and satisfying sound..."

Tom Taylor,

To read more of Tom's articles, click this link and choose from story titles on the Newsletter Archives page.

Morgan's 1964 Dodge Polara
Morgan's 1964 Dodge Polara

This 1964 Dodge Polara originally belonged to my brother-in-law. He eventually decided to sell it and that is when I made up my mind that the Polara was the project car I had been waiting for.  

Over the first few months, I replaced the worn bushings, kept the Dodge cleaned up, and started to dream about how I would rebuild her (insert Days of Thunder car talk movie scene here). We drove the car as much as we could to car shows, to work, and on Sunday drives through the countryside. As time went on, the look I wanted in my mind slowly morphed into the vintage race car you see today. An aged paint job with a red roof and big numbers on the doors patinated to perfection.

Every car I have owned has had parts from RockAuto, but the vehicle I have put the most into is this Dodge. More specially, on the early B-body Mopars (the 60s-70s models), it is not uncommon to have worn out front suspension bushings, as my Polara did. These parts can be hard to come by, however, RockAuto had all of them in stock and for an incredibly affordable price! The worn engine mounts I needed were even available! After an endless search for Champion Spark Plugs at my local parts store, I ended up also ordering them from RockAuto, which ended up costing me 50% less than what they had been priced at the parts store. RockAuto has never failed in saving me money on parts and time in the shop. I am thankful to their company for helping me keep my Polara on the road.

Morgan in Texas (RockAuto customer for over nine years)

Share Your Hard Work
Do you purchase parts from RockAuto? If so, RockAuto would like to give you the opportunity to have your car or truck possibly featured in one (or occasionally more) of our publications such as the monthly newsletter, collector magnets, RockAuto social media or other commercial use. New, old, import, domestic, daily driver, trailer queen, classic, antique, we want to see them all! For submission instructions and tips for taking pictures of your car, please visit our Photography Tips & Submission Info page

Automotive Trivia Answer
Automotive Trivia

What was the origin of the Cadillac Escalade name?

A. Escalade is the name of the rugged pass between the Monte Rosa and La Berra mountains in the Swiss Alps.

Answer: B. Escalade is a noun that means the scaling of fortified walls using ladders. (source:

C. Escalade was the name of the ship Norwegian discoverer Roald Amundsen sailed to the North Pole in 1906.

Back up to trivia question