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The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread


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CAR FAILURE

Woke up this morning, drove to campus for work, drove back home because I forgot some books for a later class. Went outside to turn on car and it didn't start. Tried jumping it twice but neither times worked. Radio, lights, and windows all work, but the car will not start. All I hear is a click. What is the problem? Is it a problem with the starter? How much am I looking to spend here?

It was the starter. The AAA guy took a hammer to it and my car was able to start up.

That's what I thought when I read your first post. If it doesn't take a jump, a large majority of the time, it is the starter.

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so haven't posted in this yet....and really didn't want to read all 374 posts...

My 4 runner is an automatic...making funny noises when I turn. Do I just need to add steerling fluid? Should I be more concerned.?

Whining/growling?...Clicking?...Grinding?

Checking the power steering fluid is a good start if whining

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If you hear a click, it's probably just the battery. Pretty common for a batt to have enough juice to power your electronics but not the starter. All you hear is a clicking noise when you turn it on.
which proves why I'm not a mechanic :silly:

If the battery is weak, you will hear a rapid clicking and the lights will dim usually. If the battery is completely dead, you won't hear anything and there will be no power in the dash.

If the starter is going bad you will hear one single click. This is because the battery is supplying power to that starter but it won't turn the engine. Banging on the starter will usually get the car to start. Turning the key 5 times or so will usually get the car to start as well.

Just figured I'd queue you in on that. :)

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TWA- not a whining, more of a growl/grind....and it's not really loud, I almost didn't hear it. and it just started yesterday afternoon. I car pool, so I don't have to drive this week..If I fill up the steering fluid and it still makes that noise...what is next? thanks!

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so haven't posted in this yet....and really didn't want to read all 374 posts...

My 4 runner is an automatic...making funny noises when I turn. Do I just need to add steerling fluid? Should I be more concerned.?

No need to read all of the posts in the thread. Every car problem is different. Post 'em when you got 'em!

Whining/growling?...Clicking?...Grinding?

Checking the power steering fluid is a good start if whining

I'll add to that...

What speeds? Turning left? Right? Both directions?

The more information the better when asking us to diagnose your car over the internet.:silly:

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Next?...I see a mechanic in your future:), but it is probably just low on fluid

added

Grinding is different and usually is a bearing, brake pad or something bad

however the power steering will change to louder when you turn hard all the way,let me know if the fluid aint low.

Edited by twa
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If the battery is weak, you will hear a rapid clicking and the lights will dim usually. If the battery is completely dead, you won't hear anything and there will be no power in the dash.

If the starter is going bad you will hear one single click. This is because the battery is supplying power to that starter but it won't turn the engine. Banging on the starter will usually get the car to start. Turning the key 5 times or so will usually get the car to start as well.

Just figured I'd queue you in on that. :)

Not necessarily. The cause is more often than not the starter gear remains engaged with the flywheel gear. The problems then is the return spring is on it's way out, or there is a burr on the starter gear. The single click is an indicator that the starter is trying to engage.

A hit with a hammer often is enough to release the starter gear, but the chance of the gear not releasing remains.

The easiest fix is to swap out the starter.

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Not necessarily. The cause is more often than not the starter gear remains engaged with the flywheel gear. The problems then is the return spring is on it's way out, or there is a burr on the starter gear. The single click is an indicator that the starter is trying to engage.

A hit with a hammer often is enough to release the starter gear, but the chance of the gear not releasing remains.

The easiest fix is to swap out the starter.

But with the single click scenario, the starter never turns. I don't argue the starter being hammered upon freeing it up. If the starter was remaining engaged, it would make a tremendous amount of noise.

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^^ The starter won't turn as the helix is fully extended, and can't turn any further. By hitting the starter with a hammer, this releases the spring, allowing the starter gear to return to it's normal position. A turn of the key will then engage the starter, but if the teeth are not lined up, the starter gear will again jam, resulting in a single click.

This 'tremendous amount of noise' you refer to would occur if the teeth are worn, or if the starter gear was not meshing with the flywheel gear, and thus, spinning free.

To me, it sounds like the starter gear is meshing with the flywheel, but cannot generate enough power to a/. crank the engine over, before b/. jamming in the 'engage' position, and thus giving a single click as the solenoid tries to activate the starter. It is the starter solenoid that is clicking in this scenario.

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To me, it sounds like the starter gear is meshing with the flywheel, but cannot generate enough power to a/. crank the engine over, before b/. jamming in the 'engage' position, and thus giving a single click as the solenoid tries to activate the starter. It is the starter solenoid that is clicking in this scenario.

This is what I was saying.

You are right about the whole "inner" workings of the starter though. Props on that.

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Having spent 20+ years on the tools, I would hope I did actually learn something!

Going back to the timing belt breakage issue, I would suggest a compression test, even if to determine there has been no damage done to the internals. When I read that post, my first thought was 'Mr. Piston, meet Mr. Valve'. Now, if the engine is running rough, that is a sign of some internal damage, albeit relatively minor, but it could lead to bigger, and expensive, problems further down the track. If, for example, a valve is even slightly bent, that could lead to damage to the head around the valve seat area, and in the worst case scenario, the valve head eventually breaking off the stem and causing untold amounts of internal damage. That would generally result in a complete engine replacement as very little would be salvageable.

Edited by SkinnedAussie
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Going back to the timing belt breakage issue, I would suggest a compression test, even if to determine there has been no damage done to the internals. When I read that post, my first thought was 'Mr. Piston, meet Mr. Valve'. Now, if the engine is running rough, that is a sign of some internal damage, albeit relatively minor, but it could lead to bigger, and expensive, problems further down the track. If, for example, a valve is even slightly bent, that could lead to damage to the head around the valve seat area, and in the worst case scenario, the valve head eventually breaking off the stem and causing untold amounts of internal damage. That would generally result in a complete engine replacement as very little would be salvageable.

You are completely right about the compression test. A skilled technician can tell if there is a problem, hell even a vacuum test can tell you something. I put the emphasis on "skilled".

And yes... If there is a bent valve in my shop, I generally recommend a complete engine replacement. Sure you could get away with replacing the head, but who knows what kind of fun problems you might be married to in the future. Once you do major engine work, if there is a problem, the customer keeps coming back even if the problem wasn't related to what you've done.

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You are completely right about the compression test. A skilled technician can tell if there is a problem, hell even a vacuum test can tell you something. I put the emphasis on "skilled".

And yes... If there is a bent valve in my shop, I generally recommend a complete engine replacement. Sure you could get away with replacing the head, but who knows what kind of fun problems you might be married to in the future. Once you do major engine work, if there is a problem, the customer keeps coming back even if the problem wasn't related to what you've done.

Why not just replace the valves? It's pretty easy to tell if the piston's been damaged or the valve seat's been damaged. Especially since the engine is running now, complete engine replacement isn't necessary for a bent valve. There's only a few things a bent valve can damage, pull the head and check them.

Also possible the TB was just put on wrong though I'd have to say I'd doubt it considering the belt snapped while running. A competent mechanic should've know to check for bent valves knowing that :2cents:

Edited by DCsportsfan53
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Why not just replace the valves? It's pretty easy to tell if the piston's been damaged or the valve seat's been damaged. Especially since the engine is running now, complete engine replacement isn't necessary for a bent valve. There's only a few things a bent valve can damage, pull the head and check them.

Also possible the TB was just put on wrong though I'd have to say I'd doubt it considering the belt snapped while running.

Well as far as why not just replacing the valves or the head... why not you ask?

Imagine your timing belt breaks. You come in to my shop and we diagnose the problem for you. You expect a $500 bill. I call you and tell you that your timing belt has indeed broken. We can replace the timing belt but that is just the first step. See, since your Escort is an interference motor, it is highly likely that the valves have made contact with the pistons and there is engine damage. You can spend $500 replacing the timing belt but there is the possibility that there is more damage, and cost, involved.

About 5 hours later, I call you. I tell you that the timing belt is done. The bad part is that the valves are making noise, the engine is running rough and the compression test shows that cylinder #3 doesn't have sufficient compression for combustion. End of the story being that I warned you, but you are now $500 out of pocket. You have an engine that doesn't run right (remember, poor compression can be caused by faulty piston rings too) but you are already in the hole.

I give you your options. We can quit now, knowing that we have spent $500 of your money attempting to fix the problem. You can spend $2000 installing a new head complete with new valves, valve springs, lifters, et al. You could also spend $3500 installing a remanufactured engine that comes with a 3 year, 100K warranty. The remanufactured engine comes with all new moving parts on both the top end (head) and lower end (block).

Let's say, for the sake of argument, you decide to choose the less expensive route and have us replace the head. We do it and the car runs just fine. You've spent $2500 in total with us. Your as happy as can be that your vehicle is alive and on the road.

Something goes wrong though. About 4 months down the road your car starts running poorly. It's missing badly. You bring it back to us, of course you would, you just spent $2500 on your car here. We look at it, for free, and tell you that the compression in cylinder #2 is poor. It's likely that your piston ring is blown and you need the complete engine to be rebuilt. There is no way that you (or me for that matter) could be happy with this outcome. You're out of pocket yet another $3000 to rebuild the engine (when you could have just paid $4500 for the engine in its entirety), that is if you choose to believe me and not complain to a higher source.

OK, take the above paragraph out of the question. Say your AC doesn't work during summer time. You bring it back to us as it was 4 months ago and we carry a 6 month warranty. We charge you yet another $150 for an AC service and tell you that your car's evaporator is leaking and you need $1200 worth of repairs. We just worked on it in the winter and now the AC isn't working. Could it be our fault? My bet says the amount of money you spent on your car says you think it is our fault.

This is why I think that if the car is not fixed "completely" that we are "married" to the car. Customers almost always think that if they spent a huge amount of money on their car it is our fault that something (completely unrelated) else is broken.

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Why not just replace the valves? It's pretty easy to tell if the piston's been damaged or the valve seat's been damaged. Especially since the engine is running now, complete engine replacement isn't necessary for a bent valve. There's only a few things a bent valve can damage, pull the head and check them.

Also possible the TB was just put on wrong though I'd have to say I'd doubt it considering the belt snapped while running. A competent mechanic should've know to check for bent valves knowing that :2cents:

Although unlikely, but it is possible that there could be more internal damage than just bent valves. I've actually seen an engine with a bent conrod and a slightly bent crankshaft. What would replacing the valves do to fix that?

I've even seen cracks in the block where the crank bearing caps bolt into the block. How happy would you be if the bottom end of your engine dropped out whilst motoring along the freeway?

Whenever I had a similar repair come in (broken timing belt / chain), unless the owner agreed to a complete overhaul, I wouldn't take the job.

Edited by SkinnedAussie
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Whenever I had a similar repair come in (broken timing belt / chain), unless the owner agreed to a complete overhaul, I wouldn't take the job.

Precisely. There is a huge risk involved in not repairing it completely. You may think you are helping out the customer at the time, but when he comes back so mad you can see the steam coming out of his ears... it isn't worth the hassle.

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Ok...so I need to get a compression test and if it passes that...fix the oil leak and hopefully things will be better. The rough running isn't there all the time but it's noticeable especially upon acceleration.

Thanks for everyone's help and I'll let you know the outcome. I don't know if the dude that worked on the car checked for damaged valves or anything..I didn't ask. He seems pretty reputable when it comes to car repair...He seems honest and doesn't charge an arm & a leg for the most part.

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When did you first notice the oil leak? Before or after the timing belt issue?

My way of thinking is that the valve cover would have had to be removed in the process of replacing the timing belt. The mechanic would have had to line up the timing marks, then he should have checked the valve clearance (another way of finding out if you have a bent valve). He may have crimped the gasket when the valve cover was re-installed.

A slightly bent valve won't be noticeable until the engine is under load, like when you accelerate, due to lose of compression. However, what will happen, sooner rather than later, is that a hot spot will develop on the valve face and it will eventually burn a hole in the valve and messing up the valve seat, which will result in the head needing to be rebuilt.

To think people questioned me when I steered clear of broken timing belt issues.

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I just know that most of the time when a valve bends it's just the valve. If I was working on the car I'd tell the customer ahead of time we need to put the belt on and then see if there's been any damage. If it's not running right the head will need to be pulled. A vast majority of the time you'll wind up putting valves in it and that's that. I understand where you're coming from but I feel like replacing the engine for a bent valve without even inspecting anything internally is unnecessary when most of the time it's not going to come to that, but that's just me.

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When did you first notice the oil leak? Before or after the timing belt issue?

My way of thinking is that the valve cover would have had to be removed in the process of replacing the timing belt. The mechanic would have had to line up the timing marks, then he should have checked the valve clearance (another way of finding out if you have a bent valve). He may have crimped the gasket when the valve cover was re-installed.

A slightly bent valve won't be noticeable until the engine is under load, like when you accelerate, due to lose of compression. However, what will happen, sooner rather than later, is that a hot spot will develop on the valve face and it will eventually burn a hole in the valve and messing up the valve seat, which will result in the head needing to be rebuilt.

To think people questioned me when I steered clear of broken timing belt issues.

I noticed the oil when I changed the plugs this past Saturday which was a week after the belt change. When I pulled the plugs there was oil on the threads. I knew that wasn't right. I've seen my husband tune up the car enough to know there shouldn't have been oil on the plug threads.

The dude that did the work never mentioned anything about bent valves or anything..he just asked me when was the last time the car was tuned or if I thought I needed a tune up. He seems the type of guy that would have checked everything that is normally checked when this type of repair is done. But I don't know for sure as I've only dealt w/him 2 times before, he replaced an alternator for me and helped me w/ a battery issue.

I just know that most of the time when a valve bends it's just the valve. If I was working on the car I'd tell the customer ahead of time we need to put the belt on and then see if there's been any damage. If it's not running right the head will need to be pulled. A vast majority of the time you'll wind up putting valves in it and that's that. I understand where you're coming from but I feel like replacing the engine for a bent valve without even inspecting anything internally is unnecessary when most of the time it's not going to come to that, but that's just me.

So if I get the compression test and it's not good, then perhaps a valve job is needed and not a complete engine replacement. I know if I tell my husband what's going on, he'd say get the compression test and then replace the valves if necessary and hope for the best.

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To be honest ldysknzfn... It sounds like you need to replace the ignition wires. I'd buy some and throw them on. It's not hard to do and the wires are probably only $50 or so. One way to tell if the wires are bad. Spray them with a squirt bottle while the car isn't missing. If it starts to miss after you spray them, it's very likely the wires.

Cheap thing to try before you go taking it into a shop and paying for check out.

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Posted this in a Hyundai Forum, haven't heard back, figured this might work here too...

I have a 2003 Accent with the Head Unit from a Tiburon (2003-2006), and it will sometimes do one of the following:

A) Completely cut out. No lights, no sounds, nothing. Fuse is fine.

B) Just light up. The color, the light, everything is there, but no text, and no response from the buttons.

I have a feeling its some sort of connection issue, as it is solved by removing the faceplate, waiting about 5 minutes, and replacing it, or just pressing on the faceplate a couple times (which has a 50/50 chance of just shutting off the whole thing).

It could also be wiring, as it happens also when I hit a big bump.

I was just wondering if anyone knew what it was, before I have to take everything apart and figure it out. Much easier if someone has had this problem and knows what it is.

More info::

Link for the MP3 Player - http://www.hyundaiaccessorystore.com/Hyundai_Tiburon_Kenwood_MP3_Player.html

Model/Part Number : 00271-E6001

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