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The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread

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I drive a 2004 Acura TL. Just curious what would happen if I stopped using premium gas?? I don't drive a lot so gas prices don't affect me all that much. I'm just curious what kind of impact switching would have on the car.

Edited by OU_skins

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generally just a bit more sluggish and some pinging under a load imo

from my experience there are a lot of horror stories on burning up the valves with little fact behind it.

If you drive it hard ,high octane is the way to go.....unless ya drive quite a bit it ain't much savings though.

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I drive a 2004 Acura TL. Just curious what would happen if I stopped using premium gas?? I don't drive a lot so gas prices don't affect me all that much. I'm just curious what kind of impact switching would have on the car.

A little science lesson on gasoline:

All American gas is rated on an Octane rating. Most gas stations will serve three varieties. There is 87 Octane, 89 Octane and either 91 or 93 Octane. The Octane rating is a rating against spark knock, basically indicating the stability of the gasoline. The higher the number the more stable the gasoline is. Gasoline stability or Octane rating means a lot in high performance engines. High performance engine will have a high compression ratio (meaning the piston tries to squeeze as much air into the cylinder as possible) or will be turbocharged or supercharged. Engines that try to get more air into the cylinder will create much higher temperatures as a natural law of physics. Therefore, gasoline with a lower Octane rating will be more likely to pre-ignition (preignition) which is known as knock or ping. Modern engines have the capability to detect this knock/ping and adjust the ignition timing to compensate. The ignition (spark plug firing) occurs later in the ignition cycle (retarded timing) meaning lower power output.

Simple answer... cars that are designed for Premium should use Premium. Using Regular won't hurt too much and the performance different probably won't be that noticeable. My car requires Premium so that's all that I ever use.

Edited by SpringfieldSkins

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Can someone tell me if I got royally screwed or not?

I used to have a V6 Audi, so the service prices I was used to were astronomical. Anyways, I have a 2004 Civic now. This is what I got done at the Honda dealer (i had a seatbelt warranty issue so i went there):

-Timing Belt, water pump, etc...

- Tire rotation

-Patch one tire that has been a very annoying slow leak

- Replace both "Compliance Arm Bushings" - apparently these were not even there anymore and made my car fail state inspection

- State inspection (30$)

- Alignment

The total cost was $1184. I can post a detailed breakdown of parts and labor if anyone wants it.

I remember my timing belt job alone on my Audi was $1200 from a trusted mechanic and the dealer wanted $2300 for it, so coming from those prices this seems reasonable.

Also, what do "Compliance Arm Bushings" actually do? They seem to be a common Honda replacement headache. I could've shopped around I guess but I've been sick and had other life stresses going on right now so and I felt comfortable going to the dealership since I don't know a Honda mechanic personally.

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Can someone tell me if I got royally screwed or not?

I used to have a V6 Audi, so the service prices I was used to were astronomical. Anyways, I have a 2004 Civic now. This is what I got done at the Honda dealer (i had a seatbelt warranty issue so i went there):

-Timing Belt, water pump, etc...

- Tire rotation

-Patch one tire that has been a very annoying slow leak

- Replace both "Compliance Arm Bushings" - apparently these were not even there anymore and made my car fail state inspection

- State inspection (30$)

- Alignment

The total cost was $1184. I can post a detailed breakdown of parts and labor if anyone wants it.

I remember my timing belt job alone on my Audi was $1200 from a trusted mechanic and the dealer wanted $2300 for it, so coming from those prices this seems reasonable.

Also, what do "Compliance Arm Bushings" actually do? They seem to be a common Honda replacement headache. I could've shopped around I guess but I've been sick and had other life stresses going on right now so and I felt comfortable going to the dealership since I don't know a Honda mechanic personally.

I had something of a long explanation for you but when I hit "submit reply" it erased everything that I wrote.

As far as the prices go, it's hard to judge because prices will vary greatly depending on location. More affluent areas have higher labor prices, while more rural areas are lower. Our labor rate here is $99.32 per hour, I've seen labor rates as high as $150 per hour in this area. I've seen rural areas with labor rates as low as $40 per hour. When you get into big jobs that require 5 to 6 hours or more of labor, that can make a huge impact on the final price.

From where I stand, you got a good price. It would easily be close to double the cost here in Northern VA (if not more).

As far as "compliance arm bushings", I"m pretty sure that you mean control arm bushings. Control arms are a part of the suspension and provide an up/down movement of the independent suspension. There are bushings that connect the control arms and as anything else that's made of rubber, it will be come dry rotted. Eventually those bushings will completely wear away and the control arms will have play (the ability to shift that particular part of the suspension without it effecting the rest of the suspension) and can make noise. Yes, worn out control arm bushings are a safety issue.

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I had something of a long explanation for you but when I hit "submit reply" it erased everything that I wrote.

As far as the prices go, it's hard to judge because prices will vary greatly depending on location. More affluent areas have higher labor prices, while more rural areas are lower. Our labor rate here is $99.32 per hour, I've seen labor rates as high as $150 per hour in this area. I've seen rural areas with labor rates as low as $40 per hour. When you get into big jobs that require 5 to 6 hours or more of labor, that can make a huge impact on the final price.

From where I stand, you got a good price. It would easily be close to double the cost here in Northern VA (if not more).

As far as "compliance arm bushings", I"m pretty sure that you mean control arm bushings. Control arms are a part of the suspension and provide an up/down movement of the independent suspension. There are bushings that connect the control arms and as anything else that's made of rubber, it will be come dry rotted. Eventually those bushings will completely wear away and the control arms will have play (the ability to shift that particular part of the suspension without it effecting the rest of the suspension) and can make noise. Yes, worn out control arm bushings are a safety issue.

Ok good deal. Thanks for the info and taking the time to reply.

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Well ****. Can a mechanic please tell me the signs of a clutch wearing out?

I just got my car fixed last week. It had a new radiator installed, and some oil pressure plug thing that keeps the oil from leaking (I was leaking oil and antifreeze. He also fixed one of the cigarette lighter thingies.

Anyway, $488 dollars later, the car was fixed. For about 2 days. I was able to put about 100 miles on it with it just being fine. Now today I go to tennis, and I press my clutch down and there is this God awful screeching sound, and the screeching sound continues when I shift gears. Does this sound like a clutch to you? It sure as **** does to me. And I'm pissed this is happening 2 ****ing days after paying nearly $500 for the radiator and other crap. The guy's actually a good mechanic who I trust, I'm just a pissed off person at the moment because my car is a major part of my job (I drive around the state for inspections).

Next question: I have a 1995 V8 5.0L engine Mustang. The engine is fine, but it looks like the clutch has hit the ****s. How the hell much am I going to have to throw down for a new damn clutch?

I apologize for cussing in this thread, but I'm really pissed off.

Edited by Special K

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sounds like the throwout bearing(which compresses the clutch)

clutch wearing out usually slips or stutters...but since you have to pull the tranny to do the bearing a clutch might be in your future

Edited by twa

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sounds like the throwout bearing(which compresses the clutch)

clutch wearing out usually slips or stutters...but since you have to pull the tranny to do the bearing a clutch might be in your future

He did mention something about the bearing when I got the car back from him....

How expensive is the bearing usually? And how long does it take to fix...like, am I going to need to rent a car for like a month while this bullcrap gets fixed?

Also, if the bearing needs to be replaced...doesn't that mean the entire clutch needs to be replaced?

Edited by Special K

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Price guess 300 just to replace bearing,might as well do the clutch and pressure plate for a total of about 550?

bearing is probably 25 bucks,pulling the tranny is a bit more...unless hubby wants to do it

time is a few hrs i ya don't goof off

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Price guess 300 just to replace bearing,might as well do the clutch and pressure plate for a total of about 550?

bearing is probably 25 bucks,pulling the tranny is a bit more...unless hubby wants to do it

time is a few hrs i ya don't goof off

Okay, that sounds reasonable to me. Fortunately I trust this guy a lot, he's helped me out with stuff he doesn't even charge me for...I think I'm like his prodigal daughter or something, he so nice to me. He's always helping me when I have a meltdown and am crying.

This is also the pricing my dad estimated for me too, maybe a little bit more, but we'll see. I'm okay with that. My husband was saying like $3000. I immediately took had a meltdown and took a xanax, lol. It would probably be $3000 at the Ford Stealership, but this guy I actually trust a lot. He's a good guy. It'll be expensive, but as long as it's not 3 grand, well, I won't need any more xanax :ols:

Edited by Special K

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If they get 3K to do a clutch there I need to move :ols:

Thank you! I am showing this to my husband who evidently has no ****ING clue what he is talking about in terms in pricing. He must have worked for Ford in a former life...

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I agree with twa, it sounds like a bearing. It could be a noise that you could live with for some time until you can afford to get it fixed. I'd definitely get it fixed when you can but I don't think it will interrupt your driving. It should be something that a good shop can knock out in a day or two, the parts are relatively easy to source on a job like this.

As far a pricing, I'm not sure how expensive an area Colorado Springs is (see my explanation on the last page). Assuming that you're going to replace the clutch at the same time (I'd advise you to do that) it's probably somewhere between $500 and $900.

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I agree with twa, it sounds like a bearing. It could be a noise that you could live with for some time until you can afford to get it fixed. I'd definitely get it fixed when you can but I don't think it will interrupt your driving. It should be something that a good shop can knock out in a day or two, the parts are relatively easy to source on a job like this.

As far a pricing, I'm not sure how expensive an area Colorado Springs is (see my explanation on the last page). Assuming that you're going to replace the clutch at the same time (I'd advise you to do that) it's probably somewhere between $500 and $900.

Coolio. Thanks guys. I'm taking it in first thing in the morning.

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The verdict is in: My mechanic is taking off/out, I don't have a damn clue, the transmission. He is installing a brand new clutch, a branch new bearing thingy, and some cable thing that I have no clue what it does. He said it is 16 years old, and we could leave it, but it would likely wear out soon and we'd have to do this transmission removal crap all over again...which is my nightmare from hell.

Total cost for the operation $885 and some cents. After the $800 part I tuned out and went into a state of deep depression. Whaaaaaaaaa

I'm making my husband drive the car in now and I'm going to get a rental car for a few days. FML and F this Mustang!

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Question for the Mechanic: I have a 2001 Volvo C70 Convertible (actually, my wife's car). This car has been the the biggest POS I have ever owned. That's another story. Here's the problem:

The car continues to blow oil out of the dipstick holder. For whatever reason, the dipstick will not sit tight in the holder and oil will blow out when running the car on the highway. It just started doing this a couple of weeks ago for no apparent reason. I checked the small gasket at the top of the dipstick and it seems to be fine. The dipstick must jiggling loose while driving allowing oil to spew forth. HELP!!!!

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1999 Accord bearing down on 200k miles.

This had happened a few times in the past, but has been much more frequent the last few days. It's an automatic with a gearshift between the seats that has a thumb button. Lately when I start it up and try to go into reverse, the button won't compress all the way and I can't shift out of park. I'm having to pump the break 4-5 times before the button goes all the way in and I can get out of park (it occurs to me as I write this that I haven't tried shifting between park and reverse multiple times after I get it to work that first time, to see if its working fine or still having the same issue).

Minor annoyance for now, but I obviously don't want to get stuck somewhere with a car I can turn on but can't get out of park. Thoughts on how likely it is that this will continue to get worse until that happens?

Thanks

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Question for the Mechanic: I have a 2001 Volvo C70 Convertible (actually, my wife's car). This car has been the the biggest POS I have ever owned. That's another story. Here's the problem:

The car continues to blow oil out of the dipstick holder. For whatever reason, the dipstick will not sit tight in the holder and oil will blow out when running the car on the highway. It just started doing this a couple of weeks ago for no apparent reason. I checked the small gasket at the top of the dipstick and it seems to be fine. The dipstick must jiggling loose while driving allowing oil to spew forth. HELP!!!!

Need to check the PV valve imo....there should not be pressure at the dipstick....perhaps someone more familiar with volvos can help more

add

maybe this will help

http://www.volvo-forums.com/t3368-oil-blowing-out-of-the-dipstick.htm

OK here it is, the vent box is also called the Oil trap. Yes it is located under the intake manifold and a bugger to get at. The other issue could also be what is called the Flame Trap.... this is a $5 piece that can cause the same problem, often the general public and even mechanics not trained on Volvo's don't know its there so it never gets changed on regular major services. Tha flame trap is my first choice to change the p#1389657 is the same as what was used on all the 240 740 and 940 series. If you find the oil trap follow the hose out of the top of it accros the intake and it will come to a hos that increases in size again which connects to a plastic piece they call a nipple. Inside the nipple you will find your flame trap which will likely be black if it has not been changed in some time. Bearing that in mind you may as well get a new nipple and oring because it will likely break apart. P#'s 9135060 and 978345.

Plan soon down the road to do the oil trap, much larger job. Haven't known anyone to do it without removing the intake manifold. When you do try to get the P# from the top of the trap, it will make it much easier for your supplier as there is a few variations.

---------- Post added May-23rd-2011 at 09:37 AM ----------

Bliz sounds like the shift interlock is sticking, generaly you can just pop the top off the shifter base and flush with wd-40(while moving it)

there is also a unit on the underside of the steering column if that doesn't correct it to try flushing

there should also be a override on the base of the shifter(small keyhole sometimes covered by a plug,that you can insert a key or small screwdriver to depress the release if stuck)

Edited by twa

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I'm trying to degrease my engine, using those common cans of engine degreaser, and as I've always done, as instructed, I'm trying to cover the alternator and other electrical parts with aluminum foil to protect from the water spray.

But as I'm putting the foil on the alternator, and lightly covering it with no pressure at all, a few sparks start to fly.

This is the first time I've done it on this car, but the sparks have never happened on any of the other cars I've done it on.

Why is it happening, just on this car ? Is it safe to continue ? Are the few sparks no big deal ? Should I modify my approach or abort the procedure altogether ?

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Using aluminum foil to cover electrical parts, what could go wrong there??? ;)

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Using aluminum foil to cover electrical parts, what could go wrong there??? ;)

It's never been a problem before - what should I use instead, that's water-resistant ?

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I'm trying to degrease my engine, using those common cans of engine degreaser, and as I've always done, as instructed, I'm trying to cover the alternator and other electrical parts with aluminum foil to protect from the water spray.

But as I'm putting the foil on the alternator, and lightly covering it with no pressure at all, a few sparks start to fly.

This is the first time I've done it on this car, but the sparks have never happened on any of the other cars I've done it on.

Why is it happening, just on this car ? Is it safe to continue ? Are the few sparks no big deal ? Should I modify my approach or abort the procedure altogether ?

Maybe somebody in Hawaii could help.

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ABORT.

You are probably just missing the cap on the wire from the battery(or knocked it off)

Either put some plastic bags or rags first or find the cap....or it could get interesting

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Using aluminum foil to cover electrical parts, what could go wrong there??? ;)

I want photos!

Mick, have you considered plastic bags secured with cable ties? I've ALWAYS found plastic bags to be waterproof, and when the job is done, a quick snip of the cable tie and all is safe.

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