Technical aspects of automobiles

Archive for August, 2010

radio motormouth still around?

I used to listen to a guy answering call in questions about autos,
motorcycles and airplanes.  I think his wife’s name was Dixie.  His
nickname was motormouth?  Any one know who I am talking about and if he
is still on the air?  


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Need Mechanic for inspection in Lynnwood, Edmonds to Everett, WA

I’m going to look at a used car in Lynnwood, WA in a day or two.  Can
anyone recommend a trustworthy independent shop nearby (Lynnwood,
Edmonds, Everett, etc.: someplace within 10 to 15 minutes of the
junction of I-5 and I-405) where I can get a pre-purchase mechanical
inspection done?  More interested in thoroughness and intellegence than
low price!

Please state your relationship with the shop (customer, owner, friend
of employee, etc.)

Thanks in advance,

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Timing Belt Replacement questions

   Google came up dry on these, and I’m afraid I do not have a manual.
   ’97 Honda Accord, 4 cylinder.
   I need to pull the crankshaft pulley.  Is the retaining bolt right or
left hand thread?  Do I need a puller to remove the pulley?  And what
torque when I reinstall?  Thanks.

B.B.           –I am not a goat!       thegoat4 at airmail dot net

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Diesel tach…??

How does the tach work on  a Ford Focus Diesel?
I assume it’s electronic?
What generates the ‘signal’, and
what form is the signal?

Any info much appreciated.
John Hewitt, Malaga, Spain
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Nissan Sentra questions

Still looking for a commuter vehicle to save some fuel, but the
Corollas / Prizms are gone before I can go see them.

I see an occasional Nissan Sentra in the papers that I’m interested in
and wondered what kind of mileage the little 1.6 liter engine gets.
How reliable?  How easy to work on?  Is it an "interference" engine
that lunches itself if the timing belt lets go?  Anything else I should
watch for?


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2001 Dodge Caravan Gas Pedal Sticking

Frequently, the gas pedal will stick as I’m driving. I can be cruising
on the freeway and when I want to accelerate, the pedal will be hard to
push. Eventually, I can get the pedal to work, but it is scary. The
pedal can also be hard to push after the car has been setting for a
while. Unfortunately, when I take the car to the dealer, this problem
never happens. The Caravan has a 3.3L V6. Any ideas?


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This one has several good mechanics stumped

1995 Mitsubishi Galant, 2.4L inline 4-banger, 5-speed manual tranny
66,000 miles, one owner, one driver, always garaged
Not a commuter car until 2005.  Was used mostly as a weekend runabout and a
few long-distance road trips here and there.  Often sat unused for weeks at
a time.  (Owner always drove company vehicles during the week . . . and
often the weekends, also)

Looks and runs like new still, except it suddenly started losing oil about a
month ago.  This vehicle was extremely well maintained, well beyond
manufacturer recommendations.  For just one example, oil changes were always
at (not exceeding) 3,000 miles.  For the first ~10 years (weekend runabout)
conventional oil was used, 5W30 or 10W30.  For the last year, it has been a
commuter, and oil is still changed every 3,000 miles, but now synthetic
blend 5W30 is used.  Other maintenance done has all been expected,
"scheduled" stuff like tires, a battery, air filters, spark plugs, a couple
brake jobs, stuff like that.

EVERY 3,000 miles, the engine would "use" about 1/2 to 3/4 quart of oil
between 3,000 mile oil changes.  (nothing odd)

Around mid-February, I checked the oil at around 1500 miles past last oil
change (synthetic blend 5W30)  It was a half quart low.  That didn’t bother
me.  The fact that it was PITCH BLACK did.  That was unusual for this car.
Oil does get darker/discolored, but I’ve never seen it black before.  Didn’t
think too much about it.  Dumped a half-quart of regular 10W30 in (what I
had handy).  A week later (and another ~300 miles), I checked the oil again
and it was A FULL QUART LOW.  Since that time, it has lost (for lack of a
better word) a full quart of oil every 250 miles.

Obviously there’s a problem.   Now here is what has the mechanics stumped.
Several good mechanics have looked at this car.  These are the facts known
so far:

1)  There are NO oil leaks.  I confirmed this myself, but several mechanics
have had it up on the lift and can not find even a minor oil leak.  I would
expect the underside of the car to be covered in oil if oil was leaking at a
rate of 1QT/250miles , but there’s no oil at all down there, that anyone can
find.  My garage floor is oil free.  My parking spot at work is oil free.
2)  There are no problem codes in the computer.
3)  Car starts easily and runs well, but sometimes hesitates on acceleration
above about 2000RPM or so (that started around the same time that the
excessive oil consumption started)
4)  Engine easily passed emissions test while losing oil.  In fact, the
mechanic who tested emissions noticed the engine was again a full quart low,
and added oil.
5)  Several (dry) compression tests have been run since oil started
disappearing.  Numbers on all cylinders on all tests range from 190 – 195 (a
couple of 200 readings in there somewhere also).  According to Mitsubishi,
this is good.  According to all mechanics I have consulted, this is very
good.  The last compression test done, I witnessed myself.  I read the
gauges as (cylinders 1 – 4) 195 – 195 – 190 – 190.  A "wet" compression test
was also done at one point, and I was told that it was GOOD, but don’t
remember the readings.  Other mechanics have told me that the wet test was
redundant anyway.  (because the dry test looked good)
6)  One mechanic told me that there’s no oil inside the tailpipe.  I guess
that’s good?
7)  Car has sat for several days (once) after excessive oil consumption
started.  While sitting (not driven), it apparently lost no oil.
8)  In desperation, one mechanic drained out the synthetic blend 5W30,
changed the oil filter, then refilled the engine with *  15W40  *
conventional oil.  According to the Mitsubishi service manual, that is OK
for the engine (it’ll take from 5W30 up to 20W50?, or somewhere there).
But, the thicker oil made no difference.  The car still loses a quart of oil
every 250 miles, when driven.

To put it bluntly, where the HELL is the oil going?  I’m kind of attached to
the car, so I’ll throw money at it.  But first I need to know what the
problem IS.  I’m stumped.  Several good mechanics are stumped.  No rings or
valve problems, no oil leak, emissions good, exhaust not discolored, but oil
is disappearing at rate of 1 Quart every 250 miles.  Is this a wierd
Mitsubishi quirk that none of my mechanics have heard of?  That is, makes
oil disappear without burning it or leaking it???

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new rotary engine trouble ?

Hi, i see tv ads for the mazda RX8 with the rotary engine.  have mazda
solved all the previous problems with this engine or is it still trouble

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Camshaft Position Sensor code — 98 Lumina

Sorry for cross-posting, not sure the best place to post this type of
repair question. Sorry for such a long post, just want to give as much
info as possible.

I have an intermittant P0341 camshaft position sensor code on my 98
Lumina w/ 3.1L engine and about 133,000 miles. I have questions about:
Is camshaft position sensor and/or its wiring really the problem?
Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement
Potential harm in letting the problem go

Is camshaft position sensor and/or its wiring really the problem?
Wondering if the camshaft position sensor, since my repair manual
indicates the ignition coil and other electrical problems could be
causing the code. Here are my observations:
As I said the problem is intermitant and I never have any problem
starting the car (which its my understanding a bad camshaft position
sensor can cause). I replaced the battery about 6 to 9 months ago. To
my recollection I decided to replace the battery after it would not
hold enough charge to crank the engine, and not because unsuccessful
cranking drained the battery. The car does seem to run just a little
rough, and there seems to be a (non-intermittant) weird buzzing coming
from the drivers side engine compartment at WOT, which I can only
attribute to the intake or exhaust manifold. The engine may not be
running at full power at WOT on occasion which I think may be due to
the non-synched fuel injection when the ECM overrides and ignores the
cam pos sensor. Should I just replace the sensor? Is there anything
else I should try first?

Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement
I have the factory service manual (first edition). It indicates
removing the serpentine belt. From examining the location of the Cam
Pos Sensor, it appears nearly impossible to access and that removing
the belt won’t make it any easier. Any tips on how to access and
replace it?

What happens if I let it go?
I ask this because it may take me a few months to successfully diagnose
the problem if its not the cam position sensor. I realize that I will
suffer poor fuel economy when the engine is not running in true SFI,
will there be any other negatives such as reduced engine or component

Thank you in advance for any replies! I really appreciate it.

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1990 F150 Ford Pickup Auto trans. won't run

wouldn’t crank, changed the fuel filter, cranked, and ran sitting still,
then turned it off and won’t crank again. spark plugs are firing, fuel is
shooting out at pressure check (fuel injection)
How do find codes?

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