Springfield

The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread

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There is nothing wrong with the new Fords guys.

Now your opinion might not be high of them, but don't pretend like they're inferior quality.

I've said it before on the boards, and feel free to take it with a grain of salt, but my Father in law manages a large automation consulting firm - they basically design the equipment that makes things. Most of their business is within the automotive industry. Nobody in the company will touch a GM, fwiw. Of course, most of them drive imports, including my father in law :laugh: :doh:

I drive a GM for my company car. Quite frankly, it's a big piece of ****. It doesn't even have 60k on it yet and I can't wait to get rid of it. So opinions are like *******s, we all have them :silly:

...

Here is my problem with American cars. They don't offer you nearly the reliability of a Japanese car. They don't offer you nearly the comfort or driving experience of a German car. They're mediocre and blah at everything. It's like a football team that's 7-9 every year. :laugh:

How do you define quality? The Germans have known for years, "quality" is in the eye of the beholder. That explains how they can export pieces of **** that American consumers fawn over because they're stylish and the fit and finish is nice... and they handle well and have great drivetrains. Only a German Car owner will rant and rave about how great their car is even though it is constantly in the shop.

:rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

I'm not going to lie, you're not far from the truth. It's almost like playing russian roulette......electrical problems style. I will say this though, the engineering in the drivetrains and the chassis' is superior. Generally speaking I've found that people who really stay on top of keeping a German car running right get good returns. Neglect them and they will exact revenge. But there's no question it'll likely be an overall more expensive car to own and maintain than either of the other two. The MK5 VWs have been excellent, though. Much better cars these days, they've climbed dramatically in the reliability ratings the last several years, and from a "behind the wheel" standpoint, the best to drive and closest to the original idea since the first Rabbits.

Bottom line, Japanese and German cars give you some form of excellence to hang your hat on, a reason to have the car based on merit that is lacking almost wholesale in American cars, save for a few models (like a Vette). They are not excellent at anything. They're not going to be the cheapest to own, get the best fuel mileage or give you an amazing driving experience. They'll be a few years behind in technology and generally unimpressive in most ways. I definitely agree that buying American is a good thing but, IMHO, they've still gotta ****ing earn it by making a car that stands up to the competition. :2cents:

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Here is my problem with American cars. They don't offer you nearly the reliability of a Japanese car. They don't offer you nearly the comfort or driving experience of a German car. They're mediocre and blah at everything. It's like a football team that's 7-9 every year. :laugh:

You're exactly right.

I'm not going to lie, you're not far from the truth. It's almost like playing russian roulette......electrical problems style. I will say this though, the engineering in the drivetrains and the chassis' is superior. Generally speaking I've found that people who really stay on top of keeping a German car running right get good returns. Neglect them and they will exact revenge.

No argument from me whatsoever. Germany has been exporting outstanding drivetrains and suspensions for years. That's how the German Industry has defined quality... and they've been very successful with it.

But quality and reliability shouldn't be confused. One is subjective, one isn't :)

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Alright so I just noticed one of the front "side" lights is out in my Jeep. How do I go about replacing that? I didn't see any screws and if I got a mechanic to replace the bulb for me how much would it cost? I have to take my Jeep in soon to get the hood cable fixed anyway, but I'm thinking I can do the side light by myself. How much does a light cost?

What year and model of Jeep is it? I don't you recall you ever saying. Knowing you have a hood release cable problem, I would figure it's a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee. If so, what year is it?

Sometimes you have to access the bulb from under the vehicle. Sometimes there is a "torx" screw holding the lense in in between the headlight and side marker light. Elaborate a little more and I may be able to help you. Bulbs are usually very simple to replace.

At my shop, we don't charge to replace bulbs... unless you own the notorious New Beetle. Those headlight bulbs are the hugest pain in the ass to replace. Only in Germany could they design a car so hard to replace a headlight bulb.

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I meant the plugs just loosen up on occasion. I hear tapping and then pop, plugs out. It happened on my old Ford as well.

I've never seen this happen. I'll ask around up at work, but as I recall, I don't remember this ever happening. Has to be damn annoying though.

UPDATE:

I haven't seen this happen, or so I can recall. I asked one of my technicians about this yesterday. This has been known to happen on the Ford F Series trucks with the 4.6L (I believe). The plugs blow out, taking the threads with them. Apparently this happens so much, they make a repair kit for it. Basically at heli coil kit, just as you described.

Just figured I'd give you an update since I had asked around.

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UPDATE:

I haven't seen this happen, or so I can recall. I asked one of my technicians about this yesterday. This has been known to happen on the Ford F Series trucks with the 4.6L (I believe). The plugs blow out, taking the threads with them. Apparently this happens so much, they make a repair kit for it. Basically at heli coil kit, just as you described.

Just figured I'd give you an update since I had asked around.

Thanks for the update. Unfortunitely, I know all about the kit. $625 from Snappy.

Mostly a 5.4l problem, but there in all the Ford trucks.

Aluminum heads and 3 threads for the plug, not so much like an iron head with 7 threads. Good work Ford, that'll hold. I wonder what they saved on that. It's also a wear item and never been recalled.

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I just paid 650.00 to have a new alternator and battery installed. How big of a sucker am I?

98 ford exploder..

Well seeing that an alternator costs at most 200.00 (ordered online) and a battery can be had for 50.00-70.00 I would say you could have saved a bunch if you and/or a friend made the repairs...it ain't that hard to do.

I got a quote from a shop for replacing brakes and rotors on my Jeep Liberty. 950.00 parts and labor. I went online and ordered everything I need and did the whole job for 300.00...took maybe 2 hours.

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Well seeing that an alternator costs at most 200.00 (ordered online) and a battery can be had for 50.00-70.00 I would say you could have saved a bunch if you and/or a friend made the repairs...it ain't that hard to do.

I got a quote from a shop for replacing brakes and rotors on my Jeep Liberty. 950.00 parts and labor. I went online and ordered everything I need and did the whole job for 300.00...took maybe 2 hours.

I won't deny that people can do work for cheaper than at a repair station. You can do anything cheaper when you buy things online. The problem I see here is this. If you have 1 car and only 1 car, you can't affort to wait 2 days (at best) for this part to come in. If you have a job, you need to be at work. It's not a viable excuse to miss work because you have to wait a week for your part to arrive. That is where repair stations come into play. We (as an industry) provide speedy and professional service, of course there is a cost to that.

If you are a good do it yourselfer, don't have an immediate need for the car you are repairing, and don't mind performing the repair again if you make a mistake or get a defective part, it's a good idea to fix your cars yourselves. You will end up saving a bunch of money. Otherwise, you should take your car to the professionals.

As far as brakes. I wouldn't skimp on the price. I would buy original equipment (if Japanese or European) or top quality ceramic (if American). You'll save yourself a lot of embarrasment when your brakes start squeaking for no apparent reason.

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I'm assuming that you are talking about the fan in the car, the blower that blows head and AC on you. It kind of sounds like the fan may be locking up and drawing on the battery causing the engine to stumble because the battery power is not constant.

I doubt it has anything to do with your last oil change. I would recommed you take it into a shop because I don't really have an answer for you insofar as a common problem I see. I could be completely wrong about my thoughts, but if it's stalling, you should probably address that.

Pre 1996 (Pre OBD 2 or On Board Diagnostics 2) vehicles are very finicky with their check engine lights. They are not the most reliable when it comes to thinking you have a "real" problem with the car. Just a side note.

I'm a parts manager at a Subaru dealer. Sounds like the compresser may be kicking on and drawing the idle down. You may have an idle air control valve issue. Have someone check out the IAC valve.

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half-axle and wheel bearing in my son's piece o'crap mobile tomorrow.

wish me luck......

Good luck. Remember, line up the splines on the axle to the splines on the transmission. You may have to tap the end of the axle to get it in, just don't tap too hard. Wheel bearings are a pain in the ass, love the cars that are designed with bearings built into the hubs. Bearing in hub design is a bit more expensive on the part side, but they are a hell of a lot easier to replace.

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Does a light screeching noise that goes away when braking means its time for new pads?

Most likely yes. On most brake pads there is a "wear sensor". This wear sensor is a metal bracket that hangs off of the backing of the brake pad. This metal bracket will touch the brake rotor and make an annoying screeching noise when the pads wear thin enough. The wear sensor will make that noise untill you hit the brakes when the wear sensor digs in deep enough that the noise goes away.

However, if you read my post last page (a few before yours), I said some brakes make noise because they are cheap. Cheaper brakes are made of a semi-metallic compound which can contain enough metal to squeak. It is possible this noise is not an indication your brakes are worn out.

Best advise would be to have your brakes checked. Any time your brakes make noise, you should have them checked at least. This should be obvious, but I know there are plenty of people out there who wouldn't think twice about driving with their brakes making all kinds of terrible noises.

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I'm a parts manager at a Subaru dealer. Sounds like the compresser may be kicking on and drawing the idle down. You may have an idle air control valve issue. Have someone check out the IAC valve.

Those both certainly sound like possible causes. I'd like to know how that one turned out.

That goes for the rest of you. If you asked questions and then had your car repaired, I'd like to know how it went. You know, a little feedback. I'd like to know how my educated guesses over the internet turned out against a hands on diagnostic.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dwbiggs

Well seeing that an alternator costs at most 200.00 (ordered online) and a battery can be had for 50.00-70.00 I would say you could have saved a bunch if you and/or a friend made the repairs...it ain't that hard to do.

I got a quote from a shop for replacing brakes and rotors on my Jeep Liberty. 950.00 parts and labor. I went online and ordered everything I need and did the whole job for 300.00...took maybe 2 hours.

I won't deny that people can do work for cheaper than at a repair station. You can do anything cheaper when you buy things online. The problem I see here is this. If you have 1 car and only 1 car, you can't affort to wait 2 days (at best) for this part to come in. If you have a job, you need to be at work. It's not a viable excuse to miss work because you have to wait a week for your part to arrive. That is where repair stations come into play. We (as an industry) provide speedy and professional service, of course there is a cost to that.

If you are a good do it yourselfer, don't have an immediate need for the car you are repairing, and don't mind performing the repair again if you make a mistake or get a defective part, it's a good idea to fix your cars yourselves. You will end up saving a bunch of money. Otherwise, you should take your car to the professionals.

As far as brakes. I wouldn't skimp on the price. I would buy original equipment (if Japanese or European) or top quality ceramic (if American). You'll save yourself a lot of embarrasment when your brakes start squeaking for no apparent reason.

This is true, I was just pointing out that if you have the means you can save drastic amounts of money by avoiding the ridiculous prices dealers and private shops charge for doing relatively simple repairs.

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Those both certainly sound like possible causes. I'd like to know how that one turned out.

That goes for the rest of you. If you asked questions and then had your car repaired, I'd like to know how it went. You know, a little feedback. I'd like to know how my educated guesses over the internet turned out against a hands on diagnostic.

Ah a modern twist on the age ole bench diagnosis...the cyber diagnosis. lol

Springfield....from reading your posts I gotta say you must be a top notch service writer. Would love to have someone like you on our desk.

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Ah a modern twist on the age ole bench diagnosis...the cyber diagnosis. lol

Springfield....from reading your posts I gotta say you must be a top notch service writer. Would love to have someone like you on our desk.

I'll admit... I'm much better over the computer with a couple of drinks than I am in person completely sober.:silly:

All joking aside, I pride myself on being good at what I do. If I was a professional shoe shiner, you'd have some damn shiny shoes. Thanks for the kind words, it's a boost to hear something like that from somebody in the industry.

This is true, I was just pointing out that if you have the means you can save drastic amounts of money by avoiding the ridiculous prices dealers and private shops charge for doing relatively simple repairs.

Agreed, however I wouldn't consider our prices ridiculous. Most people nowadays just plain old don't know about cars. There is a price for all of that knowlege, as well as the amount of back breaking work it takes to do it day in and day out.

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I have a 00 honda s2000 with 65k miles:

several weeks ago I started hearing a clicking noise coming from my rear passenger side wheel. The sound mainly came when I would make a left turn or if I was near a wall (sound would reflect off the wall) One of my buddies and I jacked it up one day and took a look....we checked the wheel weights (which were all secure) checked the shield cover (that sits behind the rotor) and that seemed to be fine. We couldn't hear the noise in the garage while it was jacked (even when we revved up the engine and let the wheels turn) so we ended up dropping it down. After that the sound went away for a good two weeks or so (granted I only drive the car on the weekends).

The sound came back a few days ago....only this time it is coming from the rear driver side when I make right hand turns (weird huh) Any Idea what it may be?

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Since you were just answering questions about brakes, I'll ask this one. My wife and I just got her car back from the dealership in Springfield where we bought the car.(where do you work again?) We went there because we have an extended warranty.

Of course, shocker, the extended warranty doesn't cover wear and tear. We had to get new front brake pads, new rotors for the front, then they did a break alignment on the rear and a break flush. Plus state and emissions inspections. Plus labor. All this came to something like $641.

Did we get taken, or was this a decent price? I ask only because had it not been for the extended warranty, we probably would have just gone to a local shop in Woodbridge.

Edit* 2006 Toyota Corolla

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Agreed, however I wouldn't consider our prices ridiculous. Most people nowadays just plain old don't know about cars. There is a price for all of that knowlege, as well as the amount of back breaking work it takes to do it day in and day out.

Like I said before...I think the 950.00 to change brakes and rotors was a little ridiculous, I don't care how much knowledge or sore backs it takes. You don't have to know a lot to change brakes and rotors. I ordered everything and did it for 230.00. 720.00 for "all that knowledge".. I don't think so...I do think that quote was ridiculous.

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I have a 00 honda s2000 with 65k miles:

several weeks ago I started hearing a clicking noise coming from my rear passenger side wheel. The sound mainly came when I would make a left turn or if I was near a wall (sound would reflect off the wall) One of my buddies and I jacked it up one day and took a look....we checked the wheel weights (which were all secure) checked the shield cover (that sits behind the rotor) and that seemed to be fine. We couldn't hear the noise in the garage while it was jacked (even when we revved up the engine and let the wheels turn) so we ended up dropping it down. After that the sound went away for a good two weeks or so (granted I only drive the car on the weekends).

The sound came back a few days ago....only this time it is coming from the rear driver side when I make right hand turns (weird huh) Any Idea what it may be?

I have a couple of thoughts on this one.

I would assume it is not wheel or brake related, usually something in that area would show scarring, either on the wheel or the brake rotor. I will rule out the wheels and brakes.

It sounds as if this is a bearing noise. Apparently the noise only occurs when that side is loaded up. When you turn the wheel to the right and you are at speed, this forces the weight of the car onto the left (and vice versa). It seems unplausable to me that both of the bearings are making noise at different times though, and after you have unsprung (lifted the car) the weight on them.

My personal thought is that it is coming from the rear differential or the axles going from the differential to the rear wheels. It is possible that there is enough play in the differential or axles that when that side of the vehicle is loaded up during turns it makes a clicking noise.

Noise from the rear end of Honda CR-V's are very common and only require a change of the fluid (in most cases) to fix. I am almost certain Honda doesn't use CR-V differentials in the S2000, but that may be a good place to start. Be sure you use the correct fluid in the differential though, this could cause major problems if you don't.

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Since you were just answering questions about brakes, I'll ask this one. My wife and I just got her car back from the dealership in Springfield where we bought the car.(where do you work again?) We went there because we have an extended warranty.

Of course, shocker, the extended warranty doesn't cover wear and tear. We had to get new front brake pads, new rotors for the front, then they did a break alignment on the rear and a break flush. Plus state and emissions inspections. Plus labor. All this came to something like $641.

Did we get taken, or was this a decent price? I ask only because had it not been for the extended warranty, we probably would have just gone to a local shop in Woodbridge.

Edit* 2006 Toyota Corolla

I'll answer this in 2 parts. I'm doing this because there are two things I'd like to comment on.

First... Extended warranties. A lot of the extended warranties that are bought when buying a car are not warranties from the manufacturer. It is important that I point this out because it means, you don't need to take your car back to the dealer for it. I deal with extended warranty companies quite a bit myself and I am in no way related to any dealership. You probably could have just gone to your local shop in Woodbridge in the first place.

When you buy an extended warranty, you should read the fine print. First to find out where you need to go to have your car serviced under this extended warranty. Second to see what is covered... Things like electric motors, switches, relays. Gaskets like oil pan, intake, cylinder head. Hydraulic things like brake lines and hydraulic clutch lines. Bearings whether it be wheel, differential, transmission. Those are all good to see in the paperwork. And of course, the more expensive (most have silver, gold and platinum or something of the like for levels of coverage) the better. Getting the lowest level of coverage will probably not pay off in the long run, where as getting the best level of coverage may actually do some benefit for you. That's just speaking of my own personal experience with extended warranties. I just bought a car myself and opted to not get an extended warranty (but that's just an obvious choice for me).

Second... The price you paid. I will only go into this because this is a shop close to my area (I'm in direct competition with them). Otherwise, I don't know what is a fair price. I will say, you would have likely got a better deal in Woodbridge... their prices are lower (everything's less expensive there, houses, gas, food, etc.)

I will tell you exactly how I would have estimated this at my shop. The labor is in regular font, parts are in italics.

Front brake job: $107.98

Toyota (OEM) front brake pad set: $105.00

Front brake rotors: $85.00 x 2

Clean and adjust rear brakes: $44.66

Brake fluid flush: $89.32

Brake fluid: $25.00

Safety inspection: $16.00

Emission inspection: $28.00

Total of parts and labor: $585.96

Estimate of tax, shop supplies, etc.: $64.46

Estimate of services: $650.42

Now... Before you go bashing me on my price. I guessed on the price of parts, it is certainly possible (and very likely) that the parts actually cost less than my guess. Also, I overestimate. That $650 that I told you what it would be over the phone would actually be something closer to $630-640 when you came to pick up the car later that day. Also, if price is a huge issue, I could opt for less expensive (read: lower quality) brake parts. I'd rather have my customer pay a little more to ensure they feel that the workmanship was first class, hence the OEM brake pads and expensive rotors. I could percivably save the customer $100 by using lesser quality, and thus, less expensive parts but I'd rather have a happy customer that doesn't return 3 times because of brake noise that is "normal" given the quality of parts.

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Like I said before...I think the 950.00 to change brakes and rotors was a little ridiculous, I don't care how much knowledge or sore backs it takes. You don't have to know a lot to change brakes and rotors. I ordered everything and did it for 230.00. 720.00 for "all that knowledge".. I don't think so...I do think that quote was ridiculous.

OK. You're right.

Is that what you wanted to hear?

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I have a couple of thoughts on this one.

I would assume it is not wheel or brake related, usually something in that area would show scarring, either on the wheel or the brake rotor. I will rule out the wheels and brakes.

It sounds as if this is a bearing noise. Apparently the noise only occurs when that side is loaded up. When you turn the wheel to the right and you are at speed, this forces the weight of the car onto the left (and vice versa). It seems unplausable to me that both of the bearings are making noise at different times though, and after you have unsprung (lifted the car) the weight on them.

My personal thought is that it is coming from the rear differential or the axles going from the differential to the rear wheels. It is possible that there is enough play in the differential or axles that when that side of the vehicle is loaded up during turns it makes a clicking noise.

Noise from the rear end of Honda CR-V's are very common and only require a change of the fluid (in most cases) to fix. I am almost certain Honda doesn't use CR-V differentials in the S2000, but that may be a good place to start. Be sure you use the correct fluid in the differential though, this could cause major problems if you don't.

I've already got the differential fluid from the honda dealership....I planned on putting it in soon anyway....I hope you are right and a differential fluid change solves the problem.

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