Technical aspects of automobiles

Archive for December, 2010

91 Maxima idles low and has NO acceleration

I just bought a 1991 Nissan Maxima V6 3.0L (VG30E) automatic at a
charity auction and it’s had this problem ever since. When I can get it
to start, it idles very low and when I step on the accelerator, almost
nothing happens….the tach just twitches a little. Same story when I
move the throttle under the hood by hand, so its not
the cable.

I get a code 55 from the ECU diagnostics mode 3 (code 55 = normal
operation).  I’ve done all the ECCS sensor checks in the Haynes manual
and everything passes (though I know that doesn’t mean they’re really
working properly since the checks are so limited).

The distributor was worn out so I replaced it and I’m getting a good
spark.  I checked the compression – its within range and the same in
all six cylinders. The fuel pump is ok, I replaced the fuel filter,
plugs, and the throttle valve switch, but still have the same problem.

**This is interesting – changing diagnostic modes on the ECU by turning

the screw caused the idle to normalize and allowed me to rev the engine

with the accelerator for about 20 seconds.  I could only make this
happen 2 times while the engine was idling.  Similarly, I changed the
modes without the engine running (just had the key at "ON") and my
buddy said he heard the injectors click.**

So I’m guessing one of the sensors is causing the ECU to not send power

to the injectors….or the ECU is no good.  How can I find out what’s
going on??  Tomorrow I’m going to check all the grounds and clean all
the connectors.  Any other ideas or guidance?  Please help.

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Pneumatic Shocks for a Russian UAZ Simbir

Hi all,

I own a Russian SUV, a consumer version based on their military jeep
series.  It has a ton of unsprung weight (solid axles front and back
built pretty heavy).  The Russian’s use oil-based shocks on their cars
for the most part, this vehicle included.

The large amount of unsprung weight plus the use of oil based shocks
seems to be causing excesive "jiggling" whenever we run across one of
the many bumps here in Armenia.  I’ve had the shocks re-worked recently
(rubber seals replaced, oil replaced), and tried various levels of air
pressure in the tires but am pretty much at a dead end there.

I’m considering trying to get pneumatic shocks instead.  They don’t
make them for this vehicle, so I’d have to either find a similar
vehicle (not necessarily so hard since they tended to copy a lot from
Toyota) or order some custom shocks.

1) Are pneumatic shocks better for a heavy vehicle, specifically one
with significant unsprung weight?
2) How would I go about determining if a another vendor’s shocks would
work on my vehicle?
3) If I need to order custom shocks I ned some recommendations on

Thanks all,
B. Jetter – without the x’s at: use3x…

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Lawnmower engine question

I can’t find a lawnmower mechanic newsgroup so I’ll ask it here. My
neighbor, who is a woman, has a large Murray riding lawnmower that was
purchased new in 2004. It has a Briggs & Stratton 14.5 hp engine with an
electric starter. It sat throughout the year 2005 without being used. I
recently tried to start it but it wouldn’t crank all the way, acting as if
it had some resistance (this is with a brand new battery that I had just
installed the same day) while at the same time some gasoline began pouring
out of the air intake and onto the ground. I unscrewed the spark plug and
removed it from it’s hole to relieve the resistance from the engine. After
removing the spark plug, I tried to crank it again and it cranked very well,
except that gasoline began flying out the spark plug hole at an alarming
rate. I then put the spark plug back into the hole (but I intentionally left
the wire off) to see if the engine could now crank against the compression,
where it previously could not. The engine cranked just fine at this point so
I figured that it had been binded up from sitting so long without being
started. However, I noticed that when I cranked the engine with the spark
plug in place that a lot of gasoline was shooting out the exhaust pipe.
Because of the gasoline all over the place, I did not plug the wire back
onto the spark plug for fear that the gas would ignite and catch the area on
fire. It’s been a couple days now and the gas has evaporated, but I an
concerned that if I plug the wire back on to the spark plug and crank it,
that flaming gas will shoot out of the exhaust pipe and catch something on
fire. My question is; is it normal for all of that gas to have shot out of
the engine under the aforementioned circumstances? Is it likely that
something is wrong, or should I go ahead and put the spark plug wire on and
try to start it? Thanks in advance for your guidance concerning this
lawnmower problem.

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odd electric problem

91 mazda 929 — 170k miles — runs like new.

this one has me stumped:

just recently, but not always, when i start the car, the air and
windows will not work.  car starts just fine (new battery last fall and
cranks right up, so i know all ignition connections are fine).

if i turn off the car and restart, windows and air work just fine.
btw–the windows/air do not just start working all of a sudden once the
car is running–they only operate properly if i turn off the car
completely, then restart (and not every time i might add–sometimes i
fire up the car and everything is fine–no rhyme or reason here…)

if the fuse is bad, wouldnt the windows/air not work at all?

any ideas?  i’ve never had a car do this before…i’m thinking maybe a
loose ground wire?


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A/C fan not working on 2000 Sienna

My 2000 Sienna’s front A/C fan is not working properly. There are four
fan speeds on the dial and the first three are not working (no fan
movement at all). The highest speed works so it is not the fan motor.
A/C is working fine and the Rear fan is working fine too.

My guess is to change the Front A/C blower resistor. Or if there is
some other possibility? Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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Caravan 2000 A/C issue

A/C not working in the rear, not cold in front, cool at best. Hook up a
gauge to the low pressure side and it reads in the zone on the gauge
that says it has enough coolant. Low but in the good zone.  I tried to
add more coolant to bring it higher in the good zone but it seems like
the system isn’t accepting more coolant.

Compressor seems to be running. But not sure. From time to time I hear
a strang pinging sound from the dashboard, almost every time I put the
rear a/c on I hear a pinging sound that almost drowns out the radio.
Coming from the right rear where the a/c unit is in the rear. Not sure
if related to issue. But when the sound started the a/c stopped.

What should I check next? What could it be?

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1990 240 wagon running hot??

Hello, my 1990 240 DL wagon’s temperature gauge gets up near the red
zone after idleing on a hot day for 20 minutes or so.  I have flushed
out the coolant, and after suspecting there was an air bubble in there,
tried to "burp" it through the upper radiator hose, but it was
completely full of coolant.

I should say, I am using regular green coolant and not the Volvo stuff,
because I have a hard time believing there is a difference.  Also, I
have no idea if it is original, but the radiator is the Volvo plastic
one.  There are only a few things I can think of.

One being the radiator has accumulated gunk or rust along most of the
fins, and is not cooling the coolant properly.

Two, the fan clutch needs to be replaced, but I just swapped mine out
with a different used one, both of which seemed OK (did the "turn off
the car- see if it turns after engine stops" test).

Three – its the temperature compensation board – although the times
that it gets hot make sense because it’s always after driving and then
idling for a while in 95 degree weather – although the inside if the
dash could be hot, too, and causing the temp. comp. board to
malfunction.  It goes up steadily and slowly, and then I usually shut
off the vehicle, because I’m scared of it overheating.  When I start
the vehicle again a few minuted later, it has usually cooled off a
little, but goes right back up close to where it was near the top red

If I go look under the hood while it says it’s so hot, though, nothing
feel hotter than normal to my hands.  the expansion tank is not
leaking, nor is anything else that I can see.  The air blowing into the
cabin gets a little warmer (I think), however.  It hasn’t happened when
the AC is on, but possibly always when the dash is blowing air at me.
The blower doesn’t sound all that great, but, could it be causing

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Differential Oil Seal Question: 90 GMC truck

Front oil seal on my differential is going downhill fast (leaking on the
driveway) and I’m thinking about replacing it my self.

I can pull the driveshaft OK, but what about the front of the differential?
Does the saddle bolt-piece-whatever just slide out on a spline, exposing the
front oil seal?  Help.

Also, there doesn’t appear to be a drain plug on the differential– just a
fill plug on the side.  Is that right?

This is a half-ton pickup, 4.3L V-6, standard transmission.

Thanks in advance.


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Ticking Noise on new car

I have no idea what I am doing with car maintenance, so I thought I
would ask yall. I have a 2006 Ford Focus and for the first time
tonight, I heard it make some ticking sounds after I shut it off from a
45 minute drive. I heard that this is normal and that there is no
problem to worry about, but I wasn’t sure. Any suggestions?

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2000 VW Jetta 2.0 Automatic tranny

i Have been working on the traismission and it still does not shift i
have taken it out 3 times and still can figureout why it wont shift. if
i drive it and drop it in 1st then go up the gears it does shift. but
automatically it doesnt. ahy ideas please

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