Author Topic: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread  (Read 2295 times)

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Offline The Latinist

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The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« on: August 01, 2017, 03:42:37 PM »
Car maintenance and repair has come up a number of times in other threads, so I thought it would be interested to have a thread devoted to talking about what we're doing to and for our cars.

Some of the possible topics for discussion:

What repairs have you recently done or had done to your car?
What problems have you encountered with repairs or mechanics?
What regular maintenance do you perform on your vehicle?
What kind of idiosyncrasies does your car have?
What do you feel comfortable doing on yourself on your vehicle?
What kinds of fluids and expendables do you use?
What tips and tricks do you have for car maintenance and repair?

By all means, don't limit yourself to these topics. The sky's the limit!
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 03:54:16 PM »
Today I replaced the evap. purge solenoid (canister purge valve) on my 2006 VW Rabbit.  Symptoms were difficulty starting after refilling the tank (I had to fully depress the accelerator to start the car) and a large leak MIL code.  My mechanic says that a purge valve that won't close is often caused by a saturated canister, but at $16 on Amazon (vs. $60+ at the parts stores) I could replace the valve a bunch of times before I approach the cost of installing a new canister.

Sadly, I've got a catalytic converter that's dying.  A bottle of 44K stopped the smell, but it's still throwing a code and the cat rattles when jiggled, suggesting the matrix is breaking down.  I think I'll try to nurse this one as long as I can.  They aren't cheap.

I also just changed the oil.  I use Mobil 1 0W-40 and this time I put in a Mobil 1 filter instead of the usual Purolator because it was on sale and should last longer.  I usually go about 1yr/15K between oil changes, so I don't scrimp on oil and filters when I do change it.

Oh, and next oil change I need to replace the oil pan gasket.  Last time I changed the oil it was leaking significantly and, while tightening the bolts significantly slowed the leak, it's still seeping slowly.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 04:06:43 PM »
On my Mustang (2001 with 2003 engine), I recently replaced the environmental control panel, radio, and blower.
Brother sent me a gift card for Amazon I used to get the radio.

I recently got an older (1997) Ford Escort as a backup / more economic car for cheap.
Has a problem with the brakes and seems to be the ABS module.
Got a used one off eBay but went to examine it and looks like beyond my ability.

Jeep (1994) failed inspection and had to replace pulley, belt, rack, and rear shocks.
Bolts broke on the rear shocks so had to get a shop to replace them.

Last month was an incredibly expensive month. . . .Had to use a credit card to pay for it.

Still looking for a good backyard mechanic locally.

As far as what I feel comfortable doing, I have to eyeball it and see. Many things are not as hard as they might seem to be at first. One thing I don't feel comfortable doing is putting spark plugs in an aluminum head because it is very easy to strip the threads in the aluminum. Brakes, shocks, struts, alternator, starter, and plenty of other items are easy enough to do yourself.

Get yourself a good tool box and socket set. One item that drives me crazy is when they keep changing sizes of bolts on the same item and even bouncing between Imperial and Metric sizes. Also get yourself an OBD II reader so you can check codes.

Certain tools you don't need to get and can rent / barrow from an auto part place - this includes a rear brake tool and a pulley tool. You pay a fee which you get back when you return the tool. I would recommend that you look at the tool when you ge it. Recent pulley tool I got had stripped threads.

While I can do oil changes no sweat, Walmart charges $20 to do it for you. I cannot do it myself for cheaper than that. They also check air in your tires at the same time. My tires also come from Walmart so they will rotate them as well.

I check my oil and transmission fluid about one a week to make sure the level is good.

Right now, the passenger window needs to be replaced because it is out of its clips. Tried to glue it but did not work. Permanently in the up position as a result.  Need to also see if I can get my AC repaired. I had it tested a little and there is no power to the compressor. There is a chip I am wondering if it might be the cause but not sure if I want to continue experimenting. These repairs have had to wait because almost the whole load of the house is on my shoulders.

Ever so often I end up taking apart the upper part of the throttle body and cleaning it out. Don't use carburetor cleaner, use throttle body cleaner. On an older vehicle, use fuel injector cleaner once in a while.

Sorry it is so long.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
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Offline xenu

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 04:29:07 PM »
I have a 2011 ford ranger.
I pulled my dash out to replace a shift indicator.  When I put it all back together I lost the center dash lights for the fuel and temp gauge. Went to find new bulbs and  believe it or not ford wanted 40 dollars for them so I figured I'll just swap out the bulbs from the tach and be on my way until I can get bulbs that were cheaper. When I put it all back together half the dash lights were out in the speedometer and the good bulbs I pulled from the tach didn't work. The bulbs that I swapped to the tach worked. Looks like I might have a ground issue. It's just a plug on the back of the panel so I'm not sure where its getting its ground from but from the plug. Aug I'm going to pull it apart again and see what's going on.
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 04:35:28 PM »
I've got the original plugs in my car.  11 years/125k miles.  Modern iridium plugs last forever.

With the use of my father-in-law's lift I've replaced brakes, fixed leaky exhaust, and the left front half-axle on my car.  Also replaced an O2 sensor.  Oh, and when the blower in my car started working on high only, I replaced the resistor module.  Got one on Amazon for $9; parts stores wanted $80+ and VW wanted $120+.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 04:50:54 PM »
I've got the original plugs in my car.  11 years/125k miles.  Modern iridium plugs last forever.

With the use of my father-in-law's lift I've replaced brakes, fixed leaky exhaust, and the left front half-axle on my car.  Also replaced an O2 sensor.  Oh, and when the blower in my car started working on high only, I replaced the resistor module.  Got one on Amazon for $9; parts stores wanted $80+ and VW wanted $120+.

My blower went out completely . . . I tried the resistor first actually but then pulled the blower and tested it by plugging it directly into the battery.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 04:58:44 PM »
My blower went out completely . . . I tried the resistor first actually but then pulled the blower and tested it by plugging it directly into the battery.

The resistor is used only to slow the fan; when it goes, the fan should still work on high speed.  I understand that it's usually not the resistor itself that goes, but the thermal fuse attached to it.  If I were more competent with a soldering iron, I probably could have replaced the fuse only.  I might have tried it still if I hadn't found such a cheap replacement unit.  I'm told that the fuse usually burns out because a gunned-up blower overheats the resistor, so when I replaced the resistor I took apart the blower, cleaned it with carb cleaner, and re-lubricated.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 05:01:18 PM »
My blower went out completely . . . I tried the resistor first actually but then pulled the blower and tested it by plugging it directly into the battery.

The resistor is used only to slow the fan; when it goes, the fan should still work on high speed.  I understand that it's usually not the resistor itself that goes, but the thermal fuse attached to it.  If I were more competent with a soldering iron, I probably could have replaced the fuse only.  I might have tried it still if I hadn't found such a cheap replacement unit.  I'm told that the fuse usually burns out because a gunned-up blower overheats the resistor, so when I replaced the resistor I took apart the blower, cleaned it with carb cleaner, and re-lubricated.

I have read some suggests that a blown resistor can cause the blower to go out completely. The resistor was only $20 so that it was a cheap test.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 05:06:15 PM »
My blower went out completely . . . I tried the resistor first actually but then pulled the blower and tested it by plugging it directly into the battery.

The resistor is used only to slow the fan; when it goes, the fan should still work on high speed.  I understand that it's usually not the resistor itself that goes, but the thermal fuse attached to it.  If I were more competent with a soldering iron, I probably could have replaced the fuse only.  I might have tried it still if I hadn't found such a cheap replacement unit.  I'm told that the fuse usually burns out because a gunned-up blower overheats the resistor, so when I replaced the resistor I took apart the blower, cleaned it with carb cleaner, and re-lubricated.

I have read some suggests that a blown resistor can cause the blower to go out completely. The resistor was only $20 so that it was a cheap test.

Cheaper to test continuity with a multimeter. ;-)
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 05:10:23 PM »
Cheaper to test continuity with a multimeter. ;-)

I also could have pulled the damn blower out in the first place and plugged into the battery.
I actually have a multi-meter, I pulled it out and it was broke. 
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 05:17:52 PM »
Cheaper to test continuity with a multimeter. ;-)

I also could have pulled the damn blower out in the first place and plugged into the battery.
I actually have a multi-meter, I pulled it out and it was broke.

Haha.  Murphy's law.  Today when I went to replace the purge valve I found that someone (presumably my mechanic when fixing a previous evap leak) had replaced the hose and used ear crimp clamps in place of the factory spring clamps.  I had to put the engine cover back on, reattach the breather hoses and drive to the part store for some hose clamps before I could do the repair.

Just to be clear, I'm not meaning to be critical; I'm just sharing what I learned myself in the same situation and gently teasing.  I like talking about this stuff.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2017, 05:32:21 PM »
Something stupid I did. I replaced the environment controls, thinking that was the problem. Got them for $10 off eBay.

When I finally replaced the blower though, I was only getting defrost. Took it all apart and found that I had not connected a vacuum line. Turned the key to where the blower comes on but did not turn on the engine. Would not switch to vent.

Gave up eventually though and put it all back together. Started the engine, tested the blower and got vent, defrost, and floor. I did not think about until somebody suggested that in order to have vacuum, the engine  has to be running. Once I put that vacuum line back on, it was probably fixed but did not know it.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Billzbub

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2017, 05:43:14 PM »
My dad keeps telling me to use Amsoil oil when I do oil changes because it is so much better.  Anyone ever heard of it?  Is this just some scam he picked up from AM radio advertisements?
Quote from: Steven Novella
gleefully altering one’s beliefs to accommodate new information should be a badge of honor

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2017, 05:45:57 PM »
My dad keeps telling me to use Amsoil oil when I do oil changes because it is so much better.  Anyone ever heard of it?  Is this just some scam he picked up from AM radio advertisements?

I would suspect the later. I would argue that oil is oil if it is the same basic type.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The Car Maintenance and Repair Thread
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 06:32:12 PM »
My impression is that all of the major brand synthetics are about the same, and all significantly outperform conventional mortor oil. Everything I've seen online saying Amsoil was better coukd ultimately be traced back to Amsoil or Amsoil dealers.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

 

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