Technical aspects of automobiles

Archive for August, 2010

Radiator Resevoir Filled With Grey Gunk…

If a radiator fill resevoir is filled with grey foam-looking gunk, does
that mean oil is mixing with the coolant? This car does not have a
radiator cap.
This is on a 95 Saturn sedan.
Will a flush fix the problem, or will it keep happening?


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O2 Sensor

i am wondering if there is a reliable way to check the O2 sensor on a
89 pontiac sunbird 2.0 OHC. i have read about a few different ways, but
they all say you need a GOOD multimeter. my meter is not that good, it
does quite alot and got me though my electronics course in college, but
it isnt high impedence. any help will be greatly appreciated.


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Ford Ranger 1998 Problems!

Hi all:

I have a Ford Ranger 1998 and for the last year, I have been having an
intermittent problem starting it. Normaly, the truck would start just
fine, but after sitting for a while, it would really hesitate to start.
I replaced the battery twice and then I realized that the problem was
not related to the battery, but possibly fuel pressure. The truck ran
Ok for the last year, but last week, it just completely died, and
although I can get it started, as soon as I step on the gas, the engine
dies. Although you can start it and drive it for a few minutes, it
feels almost as if  the engine is trying to shut down, and it takes a
lot of "fighting" with the engine to keep it going but eventually the
truck dies after 5 minutes. When I am able to keep it going for a
while, I  hear pops from the engine, which made me believe that maybe I
needed some new spark plugs, but I am almost convinced that the problem
is not spark plugs but the fuel pump. I took it in today and the guy
told me that there is no fuel pressure and that I needed a new fuel
pump, and fuel filter among other things..his estimate was 990 dollars
just for the fuel system and an additional 300 dollars for additional
repairs..I find this awfully expensive but I have no idea how much fuel
system parts really his diagnosis consistent with the
problems I am having? Is his estimate realistic..or should I take it

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replacing tail light in 1996 Lumina (car)

My right flasher started flashing quickly and I discovered my brake
light was out.  I’ve got the replacement bulbs, but I can’t figure out
how to access them.


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brake lights don't work 2002 dodge stratus


I have a 2002 dodge stratus with cruise. When I press on my brakes,
none of the three brake lights work. If I turn on headlights, tail
lights light up fine. Turn signals work fine. cruise works fine.
hazards also work fine. Just no brake lights.

What I have already done….
1. I first checked the bulbs, they are all fine
2. checked fuses, all o.k.
3. Replaced stoplight switch, still no brake lights
4. checked to see if there is power at the stoplight switch, yes there

I am now stumped. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, John

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97 escort idle issue

My girlfriend has a 1997 ford escort LX, runs fine except for a idling issue
that crops up seemingly at random.  It’ll accellerate fine but suddenly at a
stoplight the idle’ll start to go up and down in a rythmic pattern.  Get to
the next stoplight and the issue is gone.  And ideas?

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Humorous GM TSB

I just ran across this oil consumption TSB from 2003 — Bulletin #
01-06-01-011A.  My favorite part (besides the fact that they play off
internal oil consumption as normal on new cars) is the following
paragraph telling mechanics how to check oil.  20 minute wait if you
are checking a 3.4!!! WTF?

Not Waiting Long Enough After Running Engine to Check Oil Level

The vehicle should be allowed to sit for at least 5 minutes (20 minutes
for the 3.4 L LQ1), after the engine has been shut off, before taking
an oil level reading to assure the oil has had enough time to drain
back into the crankcase. In order to ensure accurate results, the
temperature of the oil should be close to the same temperature as the
last time the oil level was checked.

Hell, in 20 minutes your oil level would probably be *higher* on a 3.4
from the likely internal coolant leakage.

Toyota MDT in MO

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Bizzare Starter Motor Problem

Scroll down for diagnosis.  Textbooks and FSM of no value.

Symptom:  This is an intermittant starter malfunction.  Most of the time,
when the key is turned to "start" the engine cranks normally.  Sometimes,
however, there is a momentary delay before starter engagement.  During this
delay, there is no sound from the starter or solenoid. The delay can range
from a fraction of a second to several seconds, but the engine always
cranks.  Sometimes it helps when the key is switched several times.  When
the key is in the start position, the engine warning light illuminates and
the dash voltmeter dips.  The engine is an inline four, turbocharged, fwd
configuration.  What caused this odd fail to crank difficulty?  Answer

The starter motor heat shield.  The heat shield is a composite of
insulation fiber with a heavy foil relector.  When the shield deteriorated,
the foil came into contact and shorted the relay-actuated solenoid power
input terminal. When the switch goes to start, the solenoid terminal is
partially or fully grounded, depending on the corroded foil surface
condition.  The unfused solenoid power input would arc or melt a hole in
the foil, at which time enough current would feed into the solenoid to
actuate it and close the starter motor contacts.   From engine operation,
the loosened foil would move about, sometimes shorting the terminal and at
other times, not, causing a difficult-to-diagnose problem.  When the
problem was resolved, the foil was full of burned spots and holes. The
starter and terminals are not readily visible for mechanic’s inspection or
attachment of multi-tester leads in this model, making the intermittant
even harder to find.

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Mercedes Diesel that wont stop when the key is removed

I have an old benz diesel. It’s an 83 and sometimes it doesnt respond
to me removing the key from ignition. Sometimes this is convienient
because I can lock the doors if I’m doing a quick errand. Either way, I
know how to stop it manually, and what causes it, but I’m curious if
running it like that would do any harm. Are there any critical electric
systems that would be off?

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Opinions on Equus electric oil pressure gauge

Anyone know if this gauge is reliable?
It is the Equus oil pressure gauge (electrical) which is not available
at Walmart (Canada) like the other cheap mechanical o/p gauge.  I want
this electrical one and dont want those high ends like StewartWarner or

I emailed their sales support and they said it would have to be ordered
from their online store.


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