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Extremeskins

The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread


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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).

If the 2 on the left "aren't working anymore" couldn't it be contributed more to a short? (I'm assuming they went out at the same time, for lights that's pretty uncommon)

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Alright I've got a stupid question now...

How do you know when to change your rotors? I've changed my brake pads but never my rotors... I've got 60k on my car and know I need them SOON just not sure exactly when to do it... I'd have to drive down to Charlotte to do it, b/c one of my good friends has the exact same car as me + tools, so I'm hoping they'll be good until springtime (btw I'm an extremely hard braker... It's like I'm autocrossing everytime I drive)

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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.

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.

common I guess

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2705314#post2705314

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

Yep, it determines the centreline through the axle. It works especially for the supplied example (steering wheel 90 degrees off centre).

The distance between the right hand side marks should be the same as that of the left hand side. If not, something is out of alignment; it's just a matter of determining what. It's best used after a fairly decent whack, be it a hydrant, kerb or monster pothole.

On a 2WD vehicle, it would help determine if a strut is bent (on older cars it could be a wishbone), a track bar, etc; on a 4wd, it could be the same, plus a bent diff housing. On any vehicle, it could also indicate a bent chassis.

Some would say 'Why bother with all that?', but I say 'Why spend more money than you have to?'. If you have a starting point for repairs, you could save plenty (depending on the problem). You could also be aware of when you are being ripped off with unnecessary repairs by unscrupulous mechanics.

Then again, it could be just an Aussie thing!

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Yep, it determines the centreline through the axle. It works especially for the supplied example (steering wheel 90 degrees off centre).

Told ya I'm lazzzzzy , A plumb bob (string w/a weight) on level ground is quicker.

then check toe-in by having someone drive forward and backward a few ft while you watch from the frt.

The tire should remain level.

Edited by twa
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Alright I've got a stupid question now...

How do you know when to change your rotors? I've changed my brake pads but never my rotors... I've got 60k on my car and know I need them SOON just not sure exactly when to do it... I'd have to drive down to Charlotte to do it, b/c one of my good friends has the exact same car as me + tools, so I'm hoping they'll be good until springtime (btw I'm an extremely hard braker... It's like I'm autocrossing everytime I drive)

A simple answer... you change the rotors when they are needed.

A more complicated answer. A brake rotor has a minimum thickness. It varies for every make and model of vehicle, but the specifications are available through many different resources. If a brake rotor is below a minimum thickness, it needs to be replaced. Brake rotors, over time, may become warped (not completely flat) and will cause a vibration in the steering wheel. This vibration can be eliminated by machining (cutting the top layer off, thus making it completely flat again) the brake rotor. A tool called a micrometer can measure the thickness of a brake rotor to a 1/1000 of an inch. Using a micrometer, you can determine if the brake rotors on your vehicle are thick enough currently or thick enough after machining (which will remove some of the rotor metal).

Back to simplistics... If you are not experiencing any sort of vibration, my suggestion would be to do nothing with your rotors. If there is a vibration, it may be easier and cost less time to go ahead and replace the brake rotors. They are usually between $50-100 each. Brake rotors aren't hard to replace at all (on most cars).

Edited by SpringfieldSkins
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A simple answer... you change the rotors when they are needed.

A more complicated answer. A brake rotor has a minimum thickness. It varies for every make and model of vehicle, but the specifications are available through many different resources. If a brake rotor is below a minimum thickness, it needs to be replaced. Brake rotors, over time, may become warped (not completely flat) and will cause a vibration in the steering wheel. This vibration can be eliminated by machining (cutting the top layer off, thus making it completely flat again) the brake rotor. A tool called a micrometer can measure the thickness of a brake rotor to a 1/1000 of an inch. Using a micrometer, you can determine if the brake rotors on your vehicle are thick enough currently or thick enough after machining (which will remove some of the rotor metal).

Back to simplistics... If you are not experiencing any sort of vibration, my suggestion would be to do nothing with your rotors. If there is a vibration, it may be easier and cost less time to go ahead and replace the brake rotors. They are usually between $50-100 each. Brake rotors aren't hard to replace at all (on most cars).

Thank you... Yeah I'm not worried about the time (I'll be doing it myself and having a few [several] beers afterwards) or the cost (well a little... I should really only have to replace the front rotors right? the back ones should last what twice as long?) What I'm worried about is catastrophic failure when I'm pulling up to a stoplight and me just not being able to stop...

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Could you repeat that without the metric system(e?) please? :)

What metrics did I use? 2wd = two wheel drive; 4WD = 4x4.

twa, a plumb bob will also do the trick, but as you pointed out, only on (perfectly) level ground. The valve stem way works on any ground, especially if you go off-roading in a 4x4.

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Thank you... Yeah I'm not worried about the time (I'll be doing it myself and having a few [several] beers afterwards) or the cost (well a little... I should really only have to replace the front rotors right? the back ones should last what twice as long?) What I'm worried about is catastrophic failure when I'm pulling up to a stoplight and me just not being able to stop...

As far as time... unless you have a brake lathe (the machine that shaves the brake rotor) handy you'll probably be up ****s creek. For the DIY'er, it's usually leave the old rotors on or replace the rotors.

Brake lathes are expensive and most people don't have one set up in their garage. If there is an auto shop nearby, they will probably machine the rotors for a small fee if you walk in with two rotors in your hand.

And yes... in general, rear rotors will probably last as long as the fronts. Sometimes they don't. To be honest, I don't ever worry about rotors unless I am replacing the brake pads or I have some sort of brake vibration. Brake rotors are not a hydraulic issue, so they won't cause your brakes to "go out" or cause "catastrophic failure" if there is something wrong with them (in most circumstances).

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Sorry, you just used a heavy metric undertone to your post...

:) I love being one of the only countries that says that...

Do you realise how difficult it is for me to 'americanize' my posts? There's a perfect example right there. Americanize. We would use an s instead of the z.

Colour - Color

Harbour - Harbor

Centre - Center.

Redskins - Redskins.

At least there's one thing that'll never change!

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Colour - Color

Harbour - Harbor

Centre - Center.

Redskins - Redskins.

Who do you think will be the starting centre for the Redskins this season? Do you think that they will ever wear burgundy on burgundy colours again? What are you thoughts on Snyder moving the stadium to the D.C. harbour?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.:silly:

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Sorry, you just used a heavy metric undertone to your post...

I can actually relate this to cars!

The metric system when working on cars is so much easier for me! I can look at the head of a bolt and say, "Yeah, that's a 10mm." or "It's going to take a 15mm." I can't do that with "standard" sizes. That fraction **** is too confusing for me. "Does it take a 3/16ths socket or a 5/8ths?" Just a huge pain in the ass if you ask me.

Good think that you can get most metric sockets to fit a standard size bolt head without much problem. Stupid American bolt sizes.

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Who do you think will be the starting centre for the Redskins this season?

Do we have a starting calibre centre on the roster at the moment? If Casey Rabach is the best we have ......................... :doh:

Do you think that they will ever wear burgundy on burgundy colours again?

I hope not! I would prefer the gold-on-burgundy, but that burgundy-on-burgundy makes me want to spew (= puke).

What are you thoughts on Snyder moving the stadium to the D.C. harbour?

Although I haven't been to D.C., I didn't think there was a harbour. Besides, from what a lot of 'fans' seem to say, we often end up as a sinking ship, so the last thing we need is to be situated close to water.

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I can actually relate this to cars!

The metric system when working on cars is so much easier for me! I can look at the head of a bolt and say, "Yeah, that's a 10mm." or "It's going to take a 15mm." I can't do that with "standard" sizes. That fraction **** is too confusing for me. "Does it take a 3/16ths socket or a 5/8ths?" Just a huge pain in the ass if you ask me.

Good think that you can get most metric sockets to fit a standard size bolt head without much problem. Stupid American bolt sizes.

Sucks for me,I relate them to standard then have to translate them into metric now :chair:...durn foreigners

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I used to have two separate sets of spanners - one metric, and another for working on (imported) Chev race engines.

I have two full sets of tools because of the switch,I started well before the metric changover here.

I've gotten accustomed to it,but still "think" in standard sizes:silly:

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I had to replace the back axel seal and brakes, along with the 'stuff' that goes along with that. (don't ya love the "non mechanic" way of putting things?

I finally found out why my truck was making noise up front, and it's not the steering or struts...the ball bearings.

My sister asked why I don't just go buy a new car since has been costing some large chunks of money recently. I guess it's cause I love this truck and don't mind the maintenance that it takes after 134K miles....

thoughts anyone?

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I overheard a conversation the other day where a guy advised another to clean out his engine by changing the oil and filter and replace one of the quarts of oil with a quart of transmission fluid. He should then drive the car for 1000 miles and change the oil as normal.

Has anyone ever heard of this and is it true?

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Has anyone ever heard of this and is it true?

It will certainly clean it out,no promises on what it will screw up though.

It would seem wiser to simply use a high detergent oil for the cycle recommended.

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Back to simplistics... If you are not experiencing any sort of vibration, my suggestion would be to do nothing with your rotors. If there is a vibration, it may be easier and cost less time to go ahead and replace the brake rotors. They are usually between $50-100 each. Brake rotors aren't hard to replace at all (on most cars).

this is good advice... rotors really aren't worth turning at $35 each when you can purchse new for $50.

Just a word of caution though, brand name is very important with brake products in my experience. If you buy cheap rotors you will have hi-lo spots in less than 5k. (cough advance auto cough)

I've bought Wagner rotors in the past and been very pleased.

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Ok, there is indeed a leak somewhere having to deal with my radiator. I noticed a leak under my car with a big pool of water (poured a gallon of water in today). Got coolant last week and it was gone within 3 days. Anyway, I looked under the car and noticed that the water seems to be trickling down from a big hose underneath my car. Anyone know what hose that is? It isn't the hose that is in the front of my jeep that connects to the radiator cap. Anyway, it seems to be coming from that hose. I guess I'll take it to the shop tomorrow. Hopefully the damage isn't too bad on the car and for my wallet.

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I overheard a conversation the other day where a guy advised another to clean out his engine by changing the oil and filter and replace one of the quarts of oil with a quart of transmission fluid. He should then drive the car for 1000 miles and change the oil as normal.

Has anyone ever heard of this and is it true?

Yes. I wouldn't do it too. As twa said, transmission fluid is a detergent. It will certainly clean the engine out, but it's not designed for an engine and could cause other problems.

I'd stick to the stuff that is designed to clean out engines. Using ATF is the old southern redneck way of doing it (no offense to southerners or rednecks... or old people).

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Just a word of caution though, brand name is very important with brake products in my experience. If you buy cheap rotors you will have hi-lo spots in less than 5k. (cough advance auto cough)

I've bought Wagner rotors in the past and been very pleased.

You are absolutely correct zoony. As far as brake parts go (and most other car parts), you get what you pay for. Buy cheap and you'll end up unsatisfied in most cases. Spend the extra $20-30 for name brand stuff and you'll be much happier, I guarantee it.

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