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Extremeskins

The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread


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i will go ahead and replace it when we get back from Cozumel in a few weeks or wait till may. I moved down here with a car that had no AC at all in the car and that was a awful summer. Folks down here thought it was crazy that they sold cars up there with no AC in them. Thanks for the help.

Cool. It's hard here in NoVA with no AC, I can only imagine how bad it would be in MS.

Have fun in Cozumel, I took a cruise down there a few years back and had a blast!

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It was water that I had in it previously, so yeah it evaporated. I guess I'll take it to a shop tomorrow and buy the proper stuff for it. I didn't drive it all yesterday and left it in a parking lot. I just drove it home recently, it was about 2 miles. It was shaking a little when I came to a stop but ran smoothly when I was driving. Wasn't giving me any problems when I got home but I could noticed a little smell when I opened up the hood when I got home. No smoke. Is it normal to smell something after driving if you open up the hood?

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Is it normal to smell something after driving if you open up the hood?

No it's not normal. However, it isn't always a big deal if you do. There are lots of things under the hood that can "smell" without being a huge problem.

You probably didn't have any problems in your 2 mile drive because the engine didn't have enough time to heat up all the way. I would strongly suggest getting the correct coolant in the cooling system.

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Alright. Are there any tests I could do tonight in my neighborhood before I have to drive to campus tomorrow morning? It is about a 5-7 mile drive. I just let my car run idle in the driveway and the temperature gauge didn't move at all. My car just rattles a little. Maybe that is the catalytic converter? Jeep issued a letter to the owners of my year so we could take them into a jeep dealership and have them replaced but I never got around to it. Can I make the 5-7 mile drive to campus? There is a car shop right around there.

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Alright. Are there any tests I could do tonight in my neighborhood before I have to drive to campus tomorrow morning? It is about a 5-7 mile drive. I just let my car run idle in the driveway and the temperature gauge didn't move at all. My car just rattles a little. Maybe that is the catalytic converter? Jeep issued a letter to the owners of my year so we could take them into a jeep dealership and have them replaced but I never got around to it. Can I make the 5-7 mile drive to campus? There is a car shop right around there.

It could be a catalytic converter. It could be that it's getting clogged once it warms up. That would explain the smell that you smelled. That's all hypothetical though.

As for tonight, you could probably just let it run for a while. Once it warms up, hold the idle up at like 2K-2500 RPM and see if it overheats at all. See if you smell anything after you do that. That way, if you are just sitting in your driveway and it starts to overheat or do anything wrong, you can just shut it off right there and not be stranded.

"Will my car make it?" is a question that I hear quite often. It's very hard to answer a question like that to be honest. Even if I did know what the exact problem is, I can't see the future. If I could answer that question accurately at all, I'd probably make a fortune.

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Hey, I saw you mentioning warranties in MIA's pet insurance thread. What's your opinion on the company "Warranty Direct?" My wife and I looked into them when we were buying our new car but we wound up just taking the extended warranty from the dealership.

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Hey, I saw you mentioning warranties in MIA's pet insurance thread. What's your opinion on the company "Warranty Direct?" My wife and I looked into them when we were buying our new car but we wound up just taking the extended warranty from the dealership.

I have definitely heard of Warranty Direct before. I can't recall whether they were any good or not. I see so many different companies that I hardly remember if any of them are good. The only one that I can clearly remember as being a good aftermarket warranty is Carmax (which is called MaxCare).

For most of the aftermarket warranties, I would have to look at the paperwork to give my opinion on whether it is good or not. A lot of them may sound good but really be worth nothing.

Those types of warranties will cover things like engine block, intake/exhaust valves, valve springs, pistons, piston rings, connecting rods, connecting rod bearings. They have exclusions of things they don't cover like oxygen sensors, air/fuel metering devices, knock sensors, crank sensors.

What I'm getting at is they will cover (seemingly) a lot of items. The problem though, is that they cover things that generally don't break. The sensors, switches, relays, and other electrical items is where you will run into most of the problems. Some warranty companies that I have seen will not even cover gaskets.

EDIT: I would also, definitely, avoid the aftermarket warranties that solicit you over the phone or mail. That's just my rule of thumb. Also, the guy who sold you that warranty at the dealer gets a bonus out of it. Not to say that the warranty is bad, if it's from a dealer it probably isn't, but they guy made a little extra dough because of you.

Edited by SpringfieldSkins
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I have a couple questions...

#1How much should a fuel pump cost for a Winstar mini van? A friends went out, but thinks her mechanic is charging way too much. I think in the $450 range for parts/labor.

#2- 91 Ford explorer. How much would it cost for an oil change w/ new filter, replace the wiper motor (the part was free, so just labor on that) and to flush/refil the transmission fluid?

Just trying to see if this mechanic is charging way too much, or is fair.

Thanks guys!

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ok, another one.

99 Toyota 4 runner-The steering wheel is turned sideways due to my killing a fire hydrant a couple weeks ago. did bumper damage mostly. I can let go of steering wheel and my truck still drives straight. BUT...it does seem to pull in other than perfect conditions. Is it still the alignment even though it doesn't "pull"?

I'm taking it in tonight, but just wanted an ES opinion.

Thanks!

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If they are using a Ford OEM fuel pump it sounds about right,

you can get them much cheaper aftermarket,but a fuel pump is rather critical.

I used a cheap one on my daughters,lasted three months

Fords list price is $312+ tax+plus labor

#2 $160?..probably a bit higher where you are.

The 4 runner has something bent,it possibly could be adjustable but doubtful.

Check the gap between the rear of the tire and the fender,I bet one side is back further.

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If they are using a Ford OEM fuel pump it sounds about right,

you can get them much cheaper aftermarket,but a fuel pump is rather critical.

I used a cheap one on my daughters,lasted three months

Fords list price is $312+ tax+plus labor

#2 $160?..probably a bit higher where you are.

The 4 runner has something bent,it possibly could be adjustable but doubtful.

Check the gap between the rear of the tire and the fender,I bet one side is back further.

Thanks...I paid $155 for the Explorer work, so I guess that was about right. He said the parts were $70 (minus the wiper motor cause i had that already).

on the 4 runner, do you have an idea of what could be bent? I'll have to take a look when I get home.

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on the 4 runner, do you have an idea of what could be bent? I'll have to take a look when I get home.

Could be a number of different things.

Check too see if one tire is further back with the wheels straight(bent control arm or strut)

Could be a bent tie rod,but since you say it drives decent I doubt that one

(it is the straight bar that controls the steering to the tire,IF it's not straight ,it's bent)

Really depends on how far off the steering wheel is from center,usually over a 1/4 turn is to much to adjust

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I got a 02 Chevy Tracker and have changed both belts on it . But it still squeals when i turn on the a/c. Any one got a idea what the problem maybe and how much it maybe to replace the problem.
Sorry, I missed this...

Question for you:

Was it squealing before you changed the belt?

If it wasn't, it's highly likely that the AC belt isn't tight enough. If it was, you could have an AC compressor that is starting to lock up and the belt is squealing because it wants to move but the AC compressor doesn't.

Maybe check the belt tensioner as well.

I have an '03 Silverado that was making more of a clacking noise at a certain RPM range when in defrost/AC mode.

Found it to be the tensioner spring was broken for the compressor belt.

Edited by MSB 21
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I have a couple questions...

#1How much should a fuel pump cost for a Winstar mini van? A friends went out, but thinks her mechanic is charging way too much. I think in the $450 range for parts/labor.

#2- 91 Ford explorer. How much would it cost for an oil change w/ new filter, replace the wiper motor (the part was free, so just labor on that) and to flush/refil the transmission fluid?

Just trying to see if this mechanic is charging way too much, or is fair.

Thanks guys!

As far as prices go. It's hard to say. Prices vary depending on your location. It is certainly more expensive to have your vehicle fixed here in the D.C. suburbs than it is in most other places of the country.

I can tell you that you would end up paying more here if you needed those things done. So, to me, $450 sounds like a good deal on a fuel pump. It would easily exceed that price here in the NoVA area.

That was one of the things that I said I wouldn't be able to do in the OP. I can't judge whether you are getting ripped off or not. It's too hard to judge because prices in different areas vary by quite a bit.

ok, another one.

99 Toyota 4 runner-The steering wheel is turned sideways due to my killing a fire hydrant a couple weeks ago. did bumper damage mostly. I can let go of steering wheel and my truck still drives straight. BUT...it does seem to pull in other than perfect conditions. Is it still the alignment even though it doesn't "pull"?

I'm taking it in tonight, but just wanted an ES opinion.

Thanks!

I'd say that something is bent in your suspension. They can put it in the air and see if there is anything obviously bent. If there is nothing obviously bent, then they can hook the alignment machine up to it. That will measure every angle of the suspension in measurements that can't be easily judged by the naked eye.

My opinion would be tie rods, struts, control arms or a combination of the aforementioned. It's also possible that the steering rack shifted as well. There are many things that can bend to give you those results.

If you whacked a fire hydrant and your wheel isn't centered, there is a good chance that your expense will be rather large.

Keep us posted.:)

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well, the shop just called. $600. The alignment is $85 w/ tax (a bit more due to 4x4)....he said my struts are fine, that the noise my front is making is something else and damn if I can't remember what the hell he said. But the quote is only for the alignment, my back brakes and ball bearing? thing in the back. I was listening to him and trying to pay attention to something else. I'll repost the exacts tomorrow when I get the paperwork.....but all in all, the fire hydrant deal isn't the problem, just the typical wear and tear after 133k miles.

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well, the shop just called. $600. The alignment is $85 w/ tax (a bit more due to 4x4)....he said my struts are fine, that the noise my front is making is something else and damn if I can't remember what the hell he said. But the quote is only for the alignment, my back brakes and ball bearing? thing in the back. I was listening to him and trying to pay attention to something else. I'll repost the exacts tomorrow when I get the paperwork.....but all in all, the fire hydrant deal isn't the problem, just the typical wear and tear after 133k miles.

Good. Glad to hear that you don't have to pay out the ass for a huge suspension repair.

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Ok, so I have this random little stupid thing.

I have a 2002 Camry LE V6 that runs like a charm, but this stupid little dashboard light went off and its annoying me.

toyota_camry_le_5_spd_at_2007_dashboard_dashboard.jpg

See the three dials that control AC?

They have backlights so you can see the controls at night, and the two on the left aren't working anymore.

Now I know that if I take it to a Toyota dealer they'll charge me out the ass...but I don't really know who to ask.

Edited by DarrellsMyHero28
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It's probably the bulbs for the dials. Some vehicles have bulbs that are replaceable behind the dials and some have bulbs that are integrated into the dials themselves. As you can imagine, replacing the bulbs behind the dials is a lot cheaper than replacing the dials. I can't remember off the top of my head what design that vehicle has but it is a lot more common to have bulbs behind the dials.

They aren't really hard to replace on most vehicles. You'd have to pull apart the dash panels, which is surprisingly easy on most vehicles. After that it should be fairly easy to replace the bulbs (if equipped).

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The 4 runner has something bent,it possibly could be adjustable but doubtful.

Check the gap between the rear of the tire and the fender,I bet one side is back further.

That's one way, but not necessarily the best. If, as suggested, he's knocked the steering out that far, AND has bumper damage, who's to say that he hasn't also tweaked the fender?

The way I prefer is to put all the valve stems at 6 o'clock, then mark a line straight down the tire and on to the ground. The distance between the marks on both sides should be the same (+/- a tiny bit). If not, you know you have a problem. It won't cost anything other than time.

Edited by SkinnedAussie
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They aren't really hard to replace on most vehicles. You'd have to pull apart the dash panels, which is surprisingly easy on most vehicles. After that it should be fairly easy to replace the bulbs (if equipped).

Yep, but the hard part is putting it all back together again!

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That's one way, but not necessarily the best. If, as suggested, he's knocked the steering out that far, AND has bumper damage, who's to say that he hasn't also tweaked the fender?

The way I prefer is to put all the valve stems at 6 o'clock, then mark a line straight down the tire and on to the ground. The distance between the marks on both sides should be the same (+/- a tiny bit). If not, you know you have a problem. It won't cost anything other than time.

Mine is the lazy way:D,besides the gap at the rear of the fender can't change much w/o being obvious.

What significance is the valve stem location,you use it to find center?

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