Technical aspects of automobiles

Archive for September, 2009

Fuel economy meters

I am interested in any information available regarding aftermarket
digital fuel economy meters.  Specifically, I’d like to know how
accurate and precise these things are, what are good brands, any
deleterious effects on the EFI systems.  Must they be callibrated?

Corralary: As any such unit must use a fuel flow sensor and speed
sensor, and these seem to use the car’s already existing units: Are
all fuel flow sensors and electric speedometers calibrated the same,
or must the fuel economy meter be calibrated for a specific
brand/model of car?


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wrong hydraulic fluid

 BB>  I screwed up and grabben the wrong bottle of fluid, and topped off
 BB>  my brake resivior with power steering fluid.  can this cause
 BB>  any problems?

Power steering fluid is a petroleum-based oil, similar to ATF.  It can really  
screw up the rubber seals in your brake system.  Suggest you remove all the  
fluid from the brake reservoir, press your brake pads or wheel cylinders  
inward to force the fluid back to the brake reservoir (and remove that fluid),  
then fill in new brake fluid and pump it through the entire system.  
Thereafter, monitor operation of the brake pedal carefully.  If you detect any  
sign of a "sinking" pedal, it will be necessary to rebuild the master  
cylinder ASAP.


        Frank Mallory, Frank.Mall…
        via The Black Cat’s Shack’s FidoNet<->Usenet Gateway
     and   Fidonet 1:109/401

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Re: Platinum Plugs: What do they buy me?

If the electrode of the plug is the hottest part of the combustion
chamber, then switching to a plug with a smaller electrode would
seem to reduce the chance of dieseling.  I’ve seen the Bosche plat.
plugs, and the electrode is TINY.

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Rover TC 2000 and 3500

I have been looking replace my current car.  I have no desire to start
making new car payments, and really like driving something older for
various reasons.  I have a fair amount of mechanical experience (an
automatic transmission is pretty much the only thing I haven’t tried to
work on) and driving experience (slaloms, rallies, schools).  I am
looking for something satisfying.  Mechanically sound, straight body,
and a non-trashed interior.  The cars I have considered: BMW 2002 (round
lights), Porsche 356x or 912, SAAB (99 or 900), Rover TC 2000.

Decent specimens of these can be found with some luck, except the Rover.
I have the Brooklands book which is a compilation of some 20 articles
written about this machine over the last 17 years.  This gives me some
feeling for the positive and negatives, but I haven’t yet gotten to
drive or even ride in one.  Tucson by some chance has one of the very
few shops in the US specializing in Rovers.  The situation presently
(because of a move across town) is that they haven’t had a chance to put
together a car lately (though they still have a plentiful supply of
parts).  Does anyone out there in netland have any experience with this
car (the 2000 or 3500)?  Before I give these guys money for a running
car I am soliciting advice.

Robert J. Drabek                            rob…@cs.Arizona.EDU
Department of Computer Science              uunet!arizona!robert
The University of Arizona                   602 621 4326
Tucson, AZ  85721

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Cleaning Carbs

 I fine the most effective method of cleaning carbs involves
 completely stripping the unit, putting the body and dirty bits in
 an ultrasonic bath in 1,1,1-tricholoroethane solvent. This takes around
 10 minutes. Using fresh solvent clean the jets.
 Blow the various channels through with a dry air air line. Obviously
 an ultrasonic bath is abit of a luxury but they are very good for
 cleaning all sorts of small parts properly (except for corrosion).

              John Upham, (Chemical Physics Ph.D)

              University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.

              Email:… (BITnet)
                     ka…       (Janet)
           …    (BITnet)
                     jo…          (Janet)
              Tel:   +44 273 680500 (eve)
              Tel:   +44 273 678332 (day)
              Fax:   +44 273 671966

  "I’ve counted them all out and I’ve counted them all back"
   Murray Walker (?) commentating on the restart at F1 WC, Spa, 1990

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timing belt replacement on 82 Supra

My timing belt was replaced at the dealer 6k miles ago. It slipped a
couple of teeth, the cause being the idler pulley siezed. The belt
apparently had been rubbing against the pulley for quite some time
(the pulley had a coating of rust except where the belt was rubbing)
and eventually enough rubber came off to cause slack.

Does anyone out there have any insight as to why the pulley seized so
soon after the timing belt replacement?

My speculations are:

        1) the pulley set bolt was over-torqued which caused it’s
           bearing to be distorted. IS this posible? Has anyone else
           had an experience with a timing belt failing several thousand
           miles after replacement due to a siezed idler pulley?

        2) normal mortality, though I think this would have been caught
           during replacement when it’s turning smoothness was checked.
           IS it possible for the pulley to turn smoothly at installation
           and still fail a coulple of thousand miles later?

My dealer is trying to squirm his way out of taking responcibility for
this failure.

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Re: Question: Timing belts and Hondas (1986 CRX)

In article <90297.074141…@MAINE.BITNET> D…@MAINE.BITNET (Michael R. Dow) writes:

>    Is my 1986 Honda CRX HF one of the Hondas that eats itself alive
>if the timing belt goes?  My wife’s timing belt in her Pontiac died
>recently, and it made me start thinking….  Should I call the garage

>Michael R. Dow

I don’t know about your CRX, but I do know that early to mid 80s Honda Accords
 (like my 1983) DO eat themselves up with the original timing belt.

I also know that the replacement belt which is available is much better
 and should last a lot longer.


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Fuel Pump Change on '85 Caravan

Just had "great" experience with a Japanese engine.  My ’85 Dodge Caravan
has a 2.6 liter Mitsubishi Jet Engine.  The fuel pump was leaking (the
diaphram had a pin-hole).  Well the problem was, after taking the brackets
and other stuff off to even see the pump, I couldn’t remove the pump with
the threaded mounting studs in place.  I had to remove the studs so the
pump could be rotated, to allow the cam follower to get by all of the valve
springs and bosses on the top of the engine head.  NOTE: Don’t try to replace
the fuel pump without taking the valve cover off.  Well, when I replaced
the fuel pump with a Kragen Life Time Warranty Type I used some 8 mm bolts
instead of the studs.  I can’t see why the engine was manufactured with
these studs instead of bolts, like I used.  Oh well, I guess the Japanese
will get you, even if you buy an American car!!

Steve Vonk
Hewlett-Packard Company
Network Measurements Division
Santa Rosa, CA

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88 VW Fox GL brake noises

I have a 1988 VW Fox GL sedan and the brakes are making some very
annoying noises.  First, the rear brakes squeak.  I had a couple
of dealers look at it and they all claimed it was "normal" and
that nothing was wrong.  During break-in, I never jammed on the
brakes or otherwise abused them.

Second, there is a noticeable air leak coming from the brake
pedal area inside the cabin.  Sometimes it is a loud hissing
and sometimes it is a high-pitched whine.  What is the deal here?
Are the brakes unsafe?  Where is this air coming from?  Does anyone
know if VW has a recall on this?

Please send mail to this account since I don’t read and very often.  I can summarize to the newsgroup if
there is a lot of interest.  Thank you.

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Instrument panel problem?

I’ve got an 86 Mustang GT which has an odd problem.  About four years ago
after a long trip I noticed that oil pressure reading higher that normal
(still in the NORMAL range, but not what it usually was).  I took it to
the dealer under warranty and they replaced the oil sender unit, but at the
time they also told me "after break-in, every engine is a little different"
so that a higher reading might not be indicitive of a problem.  Well, in
the last two years the pressure reading has risen more, but the odd part
is that when I run the accessories (including the fan and heater) the engine
temp and pressure both fluctuate.  Now even the gas gauge fluctuates with
them, with or without the accessories.

The radio isn’t happy either.  It loses power.

Does this sound like a voltage regulation problem, or has anyone experienced
anything similar?

Ken Hughes  (hug… |  "Which button do I press to turn
FT-Ph D student, PT-ex-sysadm         |   it off?"  "Try the red one,
Dept of Comp Sci and Eng              |   allright?"  "Which red button?"
University of South Florida           |     from _Heathers_

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