MAX Update No. 27: The 5,000 Mile Inspection


Thanks to y'all for the great response to my horsepower question in Update No. 26. We'll be trying several of your suggestions and reporting back here with the results. But first, MAX is getting a major examination.

In these modern times when some cars get their first service at 100,000 miles, it may seem odd that we're tearing MAX down for a look-see with a modest 5,160 miles on the clock. But I've got my reasons.

For one, I cut my teeth on aircraft, and a 100 hour/annual (whichever comes first) inspection is par for the course in the aviation biz. Mind you, if your car starts making a funny noise you can pull over and call for a tow truck — but that’s not an option for pilots. So they want to know if something has funny noise potential before the actual noises announce themselves.


Kubota engine 
Photo by Jack McCornack

It's a habit I've carried over to the road: My cars tend to be what the used car salespeople describe as fully depreciated, or beaters, or experimental ... Well, if I knew exactly what they were going to do, there'd be no point in building them, would there? Anyway, giving my cars an “annual” keeps me from wearing out my AAA card.

For another reason, 5,000 miles is long enough that gross design errors are likely to have left their mark. My biggest concern was that the transmission adapter might have a design flaw. Otherwise, believe me, I wouldn't have bothered pulling MAX's engine out of the chassis at a mileage mark where other people are thinking about changing their oil.

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